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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Chichén Itzá packed for equinox illusion

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chichen itza equinox
Clouds over the great pyramid of Chichén Itzá didn’t prevent a magical illusion at sundown. Photo: State tourism office

Saturday was OK. Sunday was a dud. But finally, on Monday, overcast skies did not prevent the “descent of Kukulcan” at Yucatan’s most famous Maya ruin, state authorities report.

The Chichén Itzá equinox at the famed pyramid did not disappoint the visitors who came to see a piece of magic that happens only during the spring and fall equinox. This phenomenon begins about three hours before sunset.

And despite dark clouds that loomed overhead, the serpent marked down the north staircase, as it has since at least the 12th century.

The pyramid is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, built by the Maya, who initiated planting at the spring equinox, and with the autumn equinox, the harvest. They considered these days sacred times.

Long lines

Starting at 8 a.m., long lines were reported at ticket stations. Shortly after 5 p.m., the illusion occurred, much to the applause of visitors scattered on the lawn.

From March 18 to 20, 20,556 visitors were counted, while Monday’s draw was 16,625, said Dafne López Martínez, the general director of the board of cultural and tourist services (Cultur), in a press conference after the show.

Security was in force: 260 officers were deployed by the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) by road and by air.

As part of the celebration of the equinox and in order to ensure a complete show, Cultur offered two special features of the sound-and-light show, “Nights of Kukulkan” at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., which was attended by over 1,000 people.

If you didn’t have a chance to make it to the Chichén Itzá equinox (despite a nifty offer from Uber this year), here is a 2013 video capturing the spectacle. Or wait until the fall equinox, when the sun’s angle will be the same, and cause the same illusion.

With information from the state tourism office.

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