77 F
Mérida
Thursday, January 20, 2022
###

After kicking off the ‘Mayan ball game’ World Cup in Mérida, Belize takes the trophy

Latest headlines

New Frontier Airlines route to connect Cancún with Houston

Citing an increase in demand, Frontier Airlines has announced a new flight between Houston and Cancún.

Yucatán’s muralism boom —  an explosion of color, tradition and meaning

Yucatán’s history of muralism famously dates all the way back to the elaborate frescoes of the ancient Maya.

Students at Mérida’s private Catholic Universities caught trading thousands of explicit photos of their classmates

Numerous students at Mérida’s Anáuac Mayab University are reportedly active in a “secret” chat group to trade intimate photos of classmates, as well as engage in cyberbullying. 

New benches at ancient archaeological site anger Izamal residents

Modern slab benches detract from an ancient ruin at Izamal, neighbors say. Photo: Courtesy Modern-looking benches installed at...
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Opening Ceremonies during the Pok ta Pok 2021 World Cup celebrated in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

Belize took home the prize after Mérida kicked off an international Pok ta Pok tournament, also known as the “Mayan ball game” World Cup. 

Participating in the tournament, which started Thursday, were a handful of international teams including delegations from Belize, Guatemala, and Panamá. 

The two-day tournament wrapped up Saturday at Mérida’s Estadio Polifuncional. 

Belize’s team took a strong early lead, winning four matches in a row against two Guatemalan teams, as well Panamá and Mexico. Their victory was a three-peat. Previously Ek’ Balam Belize won the 2017 and 2019 Maya ball game championships.

This is not the first time that Yucatán has hosted the Pok ta Pok world cup, as it also did so back in 2015.

Pok ta Pok traces its origins back to ancient Mesoamerica. During the game, players struck the ball with their hips through an elevated stone hoop. 

Earlier: Paraíso: One of Yucatán’s best-kept archaeological secrets

However, some versions allowed the use of forearms, rackets, or bats. The ball was made of solid rubber and weighed as much as 4 kilograms / 9 pounds.

During antiquity, Pok ta Pok was best described as a ceremony and widely believed to be metaphorical for the constant battle between the forces of good and evil —  life and death. 

In some places, ritual sacrifice was a component of the ceremony, with war captives being the most common victims. But you won’t see any of that at the World Cup.

A highly dramatized reenactment of the Pok ta Pok “game” in Xcaret, Quintana Roo. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

In recent decades, the playing of Pok ta Pok has become a tourist attraction across much of the Yucatán Peninsula, with exhibitions being staged at theme parks like Xcaret, but also notably in Mérida on Wednesdays across from the city’s cathedral

The largest and most famous ancient Pok ta Pok venue is the Grand Ballcourt in Chichén Itzá, though hundred of others are known to exist across Mesoamerica and as far north as the southern United States.

For France Novelo, a player from Belize, the all-male Pok ta Pok is “a way to rescue culture in our country.”

Jose Manrique, president of the Central American and Caribbean Association of the Ancestral Sport of the Mayan Ball, added: “We have to honor the memory of our grandparents, we have to honor our Mayan gods. That is why the ball game continues to be a ceremony for us.”

The previous games were held in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 2015, Guatemala in 2017 and El Salvador in 2019.

With information from AFP

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

What my rescue dogs taught me

I thought I knew a lot about dogs until I took in two rescues. I was wrong....

Bus full of construction workers catches fire in Mérida’s north

A bus went up in flames just before 8 this morning in Mérida’s Francisco de Montejo neighborhood.

Mérida’s new surveillance center now has eyes on over 6,700 cameras

Yucatán's government has opened a new remote surveillance center to oversee the state's thousands of active security cameras. 

600 acres expropriated in Quintana Roo for new Mayan Train route

Mexico has seized 198 lots of land in Quintana Roo along phase 5 of the Mayan Train's path.

Omicron strain now dominant in Yucatán

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 now appears to be the most common form of the virus in Yucatán.

Exploring Tazumal and Casa Blanca in Western El Salvador

Though part of the Mayan world, archaeological sites in El Salvador have largely remained unvisited by all but the most avid adventurers. But this tiny country boasts several interesting sites full of unique features and blends of cultural traditions. 

Mérida slated to build nearly 100 new highrise towers

Housing and business developments in Mérida have historically been fairly “close to the ground,” but that seems to be changing.

Yucatán’s COVID hospitalizations begin to creep up

Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections were reported this week in Yucatán. On Sunday alone, 652 new cases were detected, and that's likely...

‘Angels’ spreads its wings to the Yucatán Country Club gallery

The "Angels" exhibit has expanded into the exclusive Yucatán Country Club gallery, on view by appointment. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán wakes up to a cold and windy ‘Mukul’

Mark Callum, a Mérida resident originally from England, helped this Chevy's owner move a huge branch behind the Paseo de Montejo...