Maya Summer Solstice

Summer has arrived. This season represents the arrival of the sun, warm weather and, of course, the long-awaited summer vacation. This time of year, is the perfect opportunity to escape to the beach, and what could be better than a summer vacation in Cancun or the Riviera Maya?

Summer begins with the summer solstice on June 20 or 21, or month Xul in the Mayans’ Haab calendar. Summer solstice 2021 will take place on Sunday, June 20. The summer solstice was important to the ancient Mayans. As we know, the Mayans were great astronomers and their studies focused mainly on the movements of the sun. Their observations are still valid and continue to surprise scientists.

One of the great discoveries made by the Mayans in the field of astronomy was the summer solstice (Saq ‘Q’ij in Mayan), which they interpreted as “the day of the stillness of the sun”, when it stops and gives us the longest year of the year (N’imla’j or Nim Up’am Q’ij in Mayan). The day the summer solstice takes place does in fact have more hours of sunlight than any other day of the year. The Mayans also saw the day as a magical moment of purification, abundance, fertility and youth.

Mayan communities perform ceremonies to reap the benefits that come with this day. One is the Saq ‘Q’ij prayer ceremony, which consists of looking at the sun for a brief moment then lowering the head to recite a prayer, followed by a ritual during which the tips of the fingers are kissed and the hands are raised towards the sun to bless and kiss it in a symbolic way. There is also the custom of going up to the mountains or going to the seashore to look directly at the sun during sunset and then talking to it until it disappears.

The Mayans were incredibly precise in their architecture. On each solstice, Kukulkán temple creates shadows that divide the structure into light and darkness or day and night, with the illusion of the feathered serpent slithering down the northern staircase.