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#511150 - 01/28/16 02:11 PM Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding
Marty Offline

Corozal Invites! What is the Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding. Historical information documents the Santa Rita Archaeological Park as the only place where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador and a Mayan Princess. Hence, it is believed that the enhancement of this site will bring back the unique historical, cultural, social and the economic potential of this site. The revival of this centre as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honour our culture and heritage and will greatly benefit our present and future generations.

It is said that Guerrero became a great ally to the Maya in the struggle against the Spanish conquistadors in Belize. Historians generally accept the view that in the 16th century he served as a political and military advisor to Nachancan, the ruler of Old Chetumal (Chactemal) .(Santa Rita, Corozal was probably part of ancient Chactemal, the Maya capital of the area at the time of the first Spanish attempt to conquer the Yucatec Mayas in the early 16th century).

The northern districts were largely undeveloped in the nineteenth century until The Caste War (Guerra de Las Castas) changed that. Following an uprising in Mexico of the impoverished populace (mostly Maya) against the rich Spanish and Mestizo class many Maya as well as some Mestizo travelled across the border into Belize and settled there. They became very instrumental in populating the northern districts and, by extension, making necessary the implementation of a border to separate Belize and Mexico, as well as bringing with them their sugar plantations. Sugar plantations in the settlement helped to supplement an economy that historically had proven overly dependent on timber extraction.

Also interestingly, during the War of Caste, some 12 Mestizo families fled Yucatan in Mexico and came to Ambergris Caye where they found a haven and founded the village of San Pedro in 1848. These Mestizos laboured tirelessly in Chicle (chewing gum) and logwood camps, coconut plantations, and later on in the sea where they established a prosperous fishing industry. It was these same Mestizos who later on changed from fishing to tourism to develop it into our main industry today.

Today, the customs of the Mestizo are a perfect blend of Spanish customs as well as those of the Maya. The food as well, shows the influence of the Maya, as many of the Mestizo dishes make use of corn in some way or form. The Mestizos in most instances are very fluent in Spanish and though the British brought with them their Protestant faith, the majority of the Mestizo populace in Belize is Roman Catholic, having adopted the religion of the Spanish. Part of Belize's ethnic diversity is owed to the influence of the Mestizos, who have contributed to the livelihood of Belize and certainly a part of that has meant keeping our population cheerfully fed.

With a glowing Santa Rita Maya Temple in the background, the re-enactment has been a kick-off since its inception in 2012 and placing Corozal as an international Wedding Destination “a la Maya”. The site itself has undergone major restoration.

In January of 2013 NICH formalized the site as an International and Local Wedding Set as was done by the Mayas in their era in Northern Belize.

The local chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association in conjunction with stake holders invite everyone to this year’s Santa Rita Maya Wedding Re-enactment. Enjoy it!

Date: Saturday February 6th, 2016
Place: Santa Rita Site, Santa Rita, Corozal
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Presenters: Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College
Admission: Reserve $20.00, Adults $10.00
Children under 14 years $2.00

Photos of the 2012 re-enactment!
Click photos for more pictures!

Edited by Marty (02/12/16 05:35 AM)

#511425 - 02/06/16 06:03 AM Re: Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Organizers of the Santa Rita Maya Wedding Re-enactment confirmed to the Corozal Daily this evening, that two additional Maya Cultural presentations will be performed during the re-enactment at the Santa Rita site tomorrow Saturday February 6th, 2016. These include the " Biale del Cochino or Hog Head Dance" by the Centro Escolar Junior College and the "Ek Balam Poktapok" team from Yo Creek, Orange Walk District.

#511456 - 02/07/16 05:12 AM Re: Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Oooops! Due to inclement rainy weather, the Santa Rita Maya Wedding Re-enactment scheduled for today Saturday, February 6th, has been POSTPONED until further notice. Please hold on to your tickets and look out for the new date via radio, TV and social media.

#511570 - 02/12/16 05:35 AM Re: Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
New date for the Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita Site is Saturday February 20th, 2016. Tickets are still available at Hotel Maya or Tony's Hotel. Don't forget that there will be two additional performances. Bring out everyone and let's all enjoy our mayan history and culture.

Time: 7:00 P.M.

Presenters: Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College
"El baile del Cochino - Hog head Dance"
Ek Balam - Potapok Mayan Ball Game
Admission: Reserve $20, Adults $10, Children 14 years and under $2

History indicates that a Spanish sailor named Gonzalo Guerrero was shipwrecked in 1511, off the coast of Belize shortly after the New World Discovery. A great friendship grew between Guerrero and Nachanhan who was the Maya Ruler of Santa Rita, known as Old Chetumal. Eventually Guerrero married Nachanhan's daughter, and their children were considered the first Mestizo of Belize. Mestizo culture is defined as a mix of Spanish and Mayan ancestry, and larger populations are found in the Northern districts of Belize.

On Saturday February 6, 2016, a reenactment of The Royal Wedding of Nachanhan's daughter to the Spaniard, Guerrero was presented at the Santa Rita Site in Corozal, Belize. The event was opened to the general public and was organized by the BTB, Centro Escolar Mexico, Corozal Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and the National Institute of Culture and History. The idea is to make the Santa Rita Maya Temple a spiritual wedding garden,opening to newly engaged couples, persons renewing their vows or for those celebrating a milestone in their lives.

Other highlights of the night included a portrayal of the cultural celebration with the hog head , a demonstration of the traditional Mayan Ball game ( Pitz ) which was played on stone courts at the temples. The objective of the game was to keep the ultimately passing it through high hoops that were suspended above the courts.

#511790 - 02/21/16 05:08 AM Re: Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita site

Click photos for more pictures!

#511873 - 02/24/16 05:27 AM Re: Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Traditional Mayan Culture Kept Alive in the North

The ancient Maya culture thrived primarily in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.   Originally considered primitive, the Mayas are now known to have had knowledge of science, art, architecture, language and mathematics that flourished in their culture. Their architectural skills are evident in the monuments dotting various parts of country.  Recent discoveries have led many archeologists and cultural anthropologists to believe that Belize was the center of Mayan civilization.  In fact, Belize boasts a large number of Mayan temples, towns and cities – only a few have been uncovered.  Up north, the traditions and greatness of the Mayas are being kept alive through the re-enactment of ceremonies. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Santa Rita Mayan Monument in Corozal Town is believed to be the center of the great Mayan City of Chactemal, which extended into Chetumal, Mexico and was known primarily for the trade of corn, cacao, vanilla and honey.  It’s a history that many are unaware of.

Roy Rodriguez, Historian

Roy Rodriguez

 “When the other temples like our own Caracol, Xunantunich and the great Tikal temples…when they had experienced what has been called a collapse, the Maya in Chactemal did not experience that, instead they did not only survive that collapse but thrived in the post classic period and that is what I mentioned a few minutes ago. What you saw there today is the post classic splendor of the this Maya temple. So there greatness actually happened in the post classic period.”

In 2014, a group of women in the tourism sector, with the nod from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), embarked on revitalizing the Santa Rita Monument in an effort to build on the aspect of cultural tourism in the north. Dubbed the Maya Wedding Garden Project, a re-enactment of the marriage between Spanish Conquistador Gonzalo Guerrero and ZazilHá, the daughter of the Chief of Chactemal, was displayed at the site.  Residents and tourists would  offered the opportunity to tie the knot at the sacred temple.

Rosita May

Rosita May, Founder, Maya Wedding Garden Project

 “We remember the history of Santa Rita and we know, always knew that this can make it for us, this can be one development that can put Corozal in the best place of Belize, a wedding destination. In December with our first Belizean marriage we saw this temple with over one hundred and fifty people for the ceremony and over three hundred people at the reception, now if you put value to those people then you could imagine what is the impact, the economic impact in Corozal.”

Elaborate costumes, head dresses and even cultural attires worn by dancers, musicians and actors brought the traditional and significant moment in history alive.  The presentation was carried out by students of Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College who took on roles as the Cacique and other key parts in the re-enactment ritual.

Mirilda Cal, Participant

Mirilda Cal

 “I did, my families is also into this, the culture, so I did grow into it, I do know a lot about it but it comes to my classmates and it comes to other people, they don’t really appreciate it, so I think when we were told we were going to do this, everyone was excited and then they want to learn more and they want to know more now. So I think it is a good experience  for them.”

Elmer Marin

Elmer Marin, Participant

 “When I was in school they taught us all of this and the re-act it out there it was really awesome. It was a very good experience.”

The intangible cultural heritage is being lost with the new generation.  And for the organizers, this event fosters that knowledge that has been lost among worldly influences.

Rosita May

 “We Need to develop Corozal but it has to be developed for the Corozaleños, and who are the Corozaleños, young people like yourself, you know the students who are coming out of school. What is awaiting them? We need to develop this district but the development has to be in the hands of the Corozaleños. Especially the young people; so that is why we seek the educational institutions. If you notice we were working with the C.J.C. now the Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College.”

Roy Rodriguez

 “We want to use this as an opportunity for especially young people but all of us to be inspired by that big prosperity that the Mayas had. How they achieved that, how today we can learn from that legacy of prosperity.”

Mirilda Cal

 “It is amazing, you should be proud of it, your culture makes you who you are so how can you be ashamed of it? You should embrace that and just make it better.”

Channel 5


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