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Mar 22, 2012

Solstice at the Caracol Maya Site

“Where Will You Be When The World Begins Anew?” That’s the theme for the calendar of activities that the Belize Tourism Board have planned to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar in December 2012.  The equinoxes and solstices are central to the calendar so the BTB is holding activities at various Mayan sites. On Tuesday night in Caracol, about one hundred visitors camped out to be able to catch a glimpse of the splendor of the solstice that can be viewed only twice for the year. Here is a first report on that event by News Five Delahnie Bain.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Belizeans as well as visitors had the opportunity to experience a traditional Maya ritual on Wednesday morning. The Solstice at the Caracol Maya site was one of the most unique events on the NICH calendar of events for 2012 and according to the Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Jaime Awe, that’s exactly what they were going for.

Jaime Awe

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology

“From the very start, we realized that we didn’t want to go the route of what some of the other countries were doing; we wanted to do events that were unique, special, different, one of a kind and so when I started to think about this, I thought how often does one get an opportunity to go to a Maya site and stay overnight and actually wake up in the morning with all the noises etcetera that are particular to that place?”

 

The solstice is an astronomical event that happens only twice a year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Awe says they chose to a Maya site as the venue to evoke a deeper appreciation for the history behind it all.

 

Dr. Jaime Awe

“For me, the Maya sites that we have in this country, they don’t only belong to Belize. This kind of heritage really belongs to the world. These are the tangible bits of evidence of human struggle, human achievement that all humans should celebrate. When you think about the big temples you see at Caracol, these people achieved this using nothing but stone tool technology. They developed this incredible civilization and that civilization eventually declined. These are lessons not just for us to learn, it’s for everybody who is human to learn.”

 

Another Solstice is planned for September twentieth and twenty-first, also at Caracol. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

A full report by William Neal and Cameraman Alex Ellis on the Caracol experience will be aired in a future newscast. 

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