The Xcalacoco Love Story

This is the tale of forbidden love between a brave conquistador, Bernard, and a beautiful Mayan princess, Lol Ha. The full story is on Sandos Caracols website and I recommend you use this link to read it before you continue on with my photos. Love Story

Even if a person didn’t know the story, the artistry of the dancing, the elaborate Mayan costumes and the profession polish of the performances are worth watching. I only wish I’d been able to capture better quality shots. Unfortunately, my little camera doesn’t perform well with action or in darkness, so the pictures are what they are. Hopefully, they can still convey, at least partially, the excellence of these ceremonies.

The Arrival

The story begins on the beach with the villagers of Xcalacoco awaiting the arrival of the Mayan rowers from Cozumel. It’s a time to celebrate with music and dance, for the travelers will return with food and supplies.

1 The Arrival 2 The Arrival 3 The Arrival

5 The Arrival

When the rowers appear with a nearly drowned stranger, the villagers realize this man is different from them. They’ve never seen anyone with such white skin and unusual clothing, and they become frightened and suspicious.

4 The Arrival  6 The Arrival

The village leader, the Chaman, decides to offer the man as a sacrifice to the goddess Itxel.

7 The Arrival

Feeling a strong connection to the foreigner, the Chaman’s princess daughter, Lol Ha, begs mercy for his life.

8 The Arrival 9 The Arrival

Out of love for his daughter, the Chaman agrees to spare him. As Lol Ha nurses the conquistador back to health, they begin to fall in love.

10 The Arrival

25 Sandos Caracol The Arrival ceremony

The Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote

From that time on, the princess and the conquistador meet in secret every night at the cenote, forging a love so strong it could not be broken.

12 Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote 13 The princess and the conquistador arrive at cenote 13a Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote 14 Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote 15 The princess and the conquistador secretly spend time together

One night, the Chaman sees them together and he orders them captured. His rage is so great, he calls on the gods to put them both to death in an offering to Chaac, the Mayan god of rain. The princess is thrown into the cenote to drown, while the injured conquistador manages to escape to the jungle.

16 The Chaman arrives 17 The princess and the conquistador are confronted by the villagers 18 The Chaman condemns the princess & conquistador to death 19 The Chaman

The messengers to the gods are angry that the Chaman would kill his only daughter and they confront him, condemning him to a lifetime of suffering.

20 The gods are angry with the Chaman 21 The gods are angry with the Chaman 22 Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote 23 Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote

Unbeknownst to the Chaman, the conquistador and the princess are reunited when Bernard returns to the cenote to discover Lol Ha has survived.

24 Ceremony by the Sacred Cenote

The Fire of Life

As time passes, reason returns to the Chaman’s mind, and he grows repentant for having killed his daughter. Grief-stricken, he asks the villagers to help him recreate the Fire of Life ceremony so his soul can find peace.

25 The Fire of Life

26 The Fire of Life ceremony 29 The Fire of Life 28 The Fire of Life ceremony 27 The Fire of Life ceremony 26a The Fire of Life ceremony

As part of the ritual, they burn their own skin in sacrifice to resurrect the Lord of Darkness.

30 The Fire of Life ceremony 31 The Fire of Life ceremony

The Chaman calls, again and again, for the soul of his daughter.

32 The chaman asks forgiveness for killing his daughter 33 The Fire of Life 34 The Fire of Life 35 The Fire of Life ceremony 36 The Fire of Life

Off in the distance, two people, holding hands, walk slowly toward the sacred circle. The princess and her conquistador appear from the darkness, and because the Chaman is happy to have his daughter back, he accepts Bernard into his family. And there is much celebrating.

37 The Fire of Life 38 The chaman finds out his daughter is alive 39 The chaman welcomes the conquistador 40 The Fire of Life ceremony

To read about our Sandos Caracol trip from the beginning, click here.

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One thought on “The Xcalacoco Love Story

  1. Pingback: Saying Goodbye Was So Hard To Do | joyceholmes

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