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El Cedral de Cozumel | a town full of history

El Cedral de Cozumel

El Cedral de Cozumel is one of the places you should not miss, because it is a small town that has gone through different eras such as: Mayan and Spanish era. This construction is the oldest in Cozumel.

mayan-construction

This community has one of the oldest vestiges of the island, in which we can still see much of its architecture and traces of paintings on walls dating from 800 BC.

Also, El Cedral has one of the most significant traditions, a fair commemorating the day of the Holy Cross and the arrival of the 21 families that took refuge on the island of Cozumel during the Caste War in 1848.

The story goes that more than 170 years ago, Casimiro Cárdenas fled to Cozumel Island from the town of Sabán. His enemies murdered several of his companions, but Cardenas survives. He thinks it was because he always kept a cross in his hands and later promises that every year he will make a festivity in honor of the Holy Cross for the life that was given to him. Today, a festival is held in honor of the Santa Cruz de Sabán. On this site, one of the oldest ruins of Cozumel, the site of “La Cárcel”, is also located.

mayan-jail

The fair of El Cedral takes place at the beginning of May and in it you can find activities such as bullfights, cockfights, rodeos, typical food, folkloric dances of the region, horseback riding, among other activities that make this fair one of the must-see activities on the island of Cozumel.

This festivity begins on the last days of April and ends on May 3, the day of the masons and the Holy Cross. During these days, masses, rosaries and folkloric dances are held. On the other hand, the town of Cedral is full of festivities, the fair is present, a bullring is the host of the bullfights, as well as of the invited artists.

The pig's head dance at the Cedral festival

Every year on May 3rd, visitors to the Cedral festival dress up in their costumes. The long awaited dance of the “Cabeza de Cochino” begins in a part of the main palapa of the village, it goes around the whole palapa, they laugh, they celebrate one more year of tradition. Pol Keken, a word that comes from the Mayan, Pool means head (of any animal) and Keken means pig. Ancient stories mention that deer or wild boar heads were used before, in order to worship the Mayan deities. But with the arrival of the Europeans, they brought the pig and it was adopted by this species.

The pig’s head has sweet bread, bars or inserted Chinese paper flags, plus flowers around it, it goes on top of a tray with an apple in the mouth of the animal, plus fruit around it. It is carried by the person who made the promise.

pigs-head-dance

The ribbon dance

It is so called because on a pole several meters high, they have placed ribbons of different colors and at the tip, several flowers that adorn the so-called pole. With turns, alternating men and women, they wind the ribbons on the pole, lining it with a colorful fabric from top to bottom, to finish with another fabric away from the mast and in the form of a hat.

The ribbons are lifted and lowered and they go backwards, to unbraid the ribbons, until the pole is left with the ribbons hanging and then remove the pole and dance where the rest of the presentation will take place.

people-at-the-fair

To make your experience at El Cedral more memorable, we recommend that you bring comfortable clothing, cash, sunscreen, water, hats and sunglasses.

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