For the pre-Hispanic Mayans, the cenotes were entrances to the Mayan underworld, a place where deities dwell and souls rest
Cenotes in pre-hispanic times
Archaeological zones such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Ekbalam were built so close of a cenote to supply water.
The collection of rainwater was an option to. Sometimes they built big tanks to colect this liquid.
Because of the cenotes, the Mayan culture flourished. Is recognized worldwide as one of the most advanced culture. Among his achievements are the Mayan calendar, the ja’ab and the tsoolk’in, the ceremonial centers and the hieroglyphic writing.
As a society we must preserve the Mayan culture: the language, traditions, ceremonies, and maintain the valuable knowledge that has been inherited .
Mayan offerings in the Yucatan cenotes
The pre-Hispanic Mayans believed in many deities such as jumtsiles, aluxes, balames, chaak, the rain god among others.
Tribute should be paid to them because they thought that if they did not, the deities would punish them with droughts, plagues, diseases. As tribute vessels, jade, gold and the most valuable, the sacrifices of some human beings were offered. The largest number of offerings have been found in the Chichen Itza cenote in Yucatan.
Cenote with cavern: entrance to the Mayan underworld
For the pre-Hispanic Mayans, the cenotes were considered portals to the world of the dead, as were many Mesoamerican groups. They believed that when people died they traveled a long way to the world of the dead, for them called Xibalba.
They thought that this place was where deities and supernatural beings lived. It was physically located in the subsoil of the earth and under water, which is why it is also known as the underworld.
In the town of Pixoy there is a cenote where they perform the ch’a’achak, a rain request ceremony for the milpas. People are not allowed to enter the cenote if the aj meen has not asked the deities for permission. If you enter a cenote without asking permission, people can absorb the bad energies and get sick.
Bathing inside the cenote is also not allowed, because the water is considered sacred or virgin water: sujuy ja ‘. The people of the town say that the figure of a deer reflected in the water has been seen. They do not usually go into the cenotes to swim because they know they have their guardians and they are sacred places that should not be disturbed.
The cenotes today
Ceremonies are currently held at the entrance of the cenotes. As an example, the ch’a’a chak or scoop for the request for rain. This ceremony is carried out due to the type of cultivation that is carried out in the communities (rainfed), they depend on the rains to cultivate and they need abundant production for the sustenance of the family.
The cenotes: places with life
Now you know that the cenotes were very important for the Mayan culture of Yucatan. this allowed it to be one of the most important in the world. Without the cenotes, the construction of the beautiful archaeological zones that we visited would not have been possible.
Cenotes continue to be important water supplies for human consumption, for this reason it is necessary to pay close attention to the way we consume and dispose of all our waste. Remember that everything we throw away ends up in any type of water bodies around the planet. Be careful.
Visit the cenotes responsibly and enjoy the magic in Yucatan.