June 6th/ Honey Harvesting Ceremony The “Xunaan Cab” or Meliponini bee honey harvesting ceremony, takes place in Xel-Ha twice a Year, in June and December, on full moon nights. A mayan priest goes to Xel-Ha’s meliponary and leads a ritual through which thankfulness is offered to mayan deities for their blessings and for the bees’ fertility. What makes the Meliponini very particular is that it does not have a sting and the honey it produces has very high nutritional and medicinal values.
During the ceremony, mayan musicians perform, and the honey harvesting starts with the unclogging of the “jobones”, hollow trunks that act as beehives, in order to extract the honey. Praying takes place in front of the altar, which is adorned with candles, bowls (jícaras), and crosses; and typical food is offered. The offerings are Saka o Sisool, a kind of sacred drink made of parboiled corn sweetened with Xunaan Cab honey, and served on bowls; stewed chicken and two piles of 13 “tortillas” each.
Xel-Ha has partaken in the stingless beekeeping for some years now, given that this activity is vanishing because the mayan communities have gradually abandoned this practice throughout time due to the high volumes of honey produced by European bees. Xel-Ha’s meliponary is visited freely on a yearly basis by over 8 thousand children from Quintana Roo who learn the importance of this species within the traditions that have survived their way to modernity.
July 11th / Chacah Garden Anniversary The Chacah garden is a living space inside the Natural Wonder Xel-Ha, where important men and women from the show business, sports, music, art and culture worlds have left a living footprint by planting a tree, native to the Yucatan Peninsula.
While planting their own Chacah tree, every celebrity soaks it in a thought of care for the environment with the purpose of creating consciousness for the caretaking of planet Earth.
This ceremony is framed by the legend of Kinich (Sun’s Face) and Dzic (Fury), two mayan princes who fell in love with the same princess: Nicte Ha. They fought each other for the princess’s love, but the gods doomed them to live for ever next to each other, turned into trees. Chechen and Chacah are two trees that always grow together, side by side, and can be found all over the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Chacah seeding takes place on the first Saturday following the world Tree Day, this year will be held on July 11th.
November 16th / Xel-Ha – 15 years of Sustainability Xel-Ha is nationally and internationally acknowledged as a Natural Wonder. Each year it is visited by more than 700 thousand people who find in this place the opportunity to live a one of a kind experience in the world’s biggest natural aquarium.
Since 1994 Xel-Ha has been administered under sustainability principles, which means, certifying that its touristic activities do not jeopardize its viability to guarantee it can be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations.
In such context, this 2009, Xel-Ha accomplishes 15 years of important achievements that make it a model park in sustainable tourist recreation. For this reason, in November, several activities will take place to commemorate this date, and acknowledge all those who throughout three lustrums have contributed to the construction of a natural park that is unique in the world.
December 5th / Honey Harvesting Ceremony
It is the second Xunaan Cab” or Meliponini bee honey harvesting ceremony.