The Mayan Legend of the Chechen and Chaca Tree

chacatree3The Chechen Tree and the Chaca Tree are often found growing near each other and are most commonly found in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.  The Chechen tree is poisonous and the Chaca tree has a nectar to neutralise the poison if you happen to have touched the Chechen tree.  There is a famous Mayan legend that explains the appearance of these trees and why they are found together.

 

The Mayan legend tells of two great warrior princes who were brothers of enormous strength and skill but of completely different nature. The younger brother, named Kinich, was kind and merciful and loved by all, while the elder brother, named Tizic, was sullen, and drew strength from the hate and anger nursed in his heart. As legend has it, they both tragically fell in love with the beautiful Nicte-Ha.  The brothers declared a battle to the death to see who she would choose.

 

The battle was longer and more hideous than the world had ever seen.  The Earth was torn and the Heavens went into hiding.  Eventually both brothers died in each other’s arms. In the afterlife, they begged the gods for forgiveness, and a chance to return to the world of the living and see their beloved Nicte-Ha once more.

 

The gods granted their wish and Tizic was reborn as the Chechen tree, which seeps black poison from its branches and burns anyone who touches it, and Kinich was reborn as the Chacah tree, whose soothing nectar neutralises Chechen’s venom. They solemnly watch over Nicte-Ha, who having died of grief, was mercifully restored to life as a beautiful white flower.

 

There is a garden in Xel Ha called The Chacah Garden which was designed to commemorate movie, radio, television, literature, and sports celebrity visits to Xel-Ha.  They are invited to plant a Chacah seedling and leave a brief manifest for posterity, engraved in stone.

 

 

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