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2023 ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse: Latest Updates

Hundreds of people gathered hours before the eclipse at the archaeological site of Edzná, once a home of the Indigenous Maya people, who for centuries predicted cycles that result in solar eclipses.

Daniel Arredondo and Tania Campos, two photographers from Mérida, Mexico, woke up at 3 a.m. and were the first in line at the site. Mr. Arredondo said it meant more to witness the event from the Maya ruins.

“I like that ancestors had to show us knowledge of the moons, stars and sun, and that’s why it’s more attractive here,” he said.

Just over an hour into the eclipse, as an orange crescent formed in the sky, an M.C. at the Edzná plaza began to instruct the crowd on meditation. Some attendees sitting amid the ruins, temples and grassy plaza extended their hands to the sky.

The moment marked “signs of change for a new opportunity and to make a change in your life and to reflect on the things we want to let go and the moments that balance our life,” the M.C. said in Spanish.

While some meditated, others clapped their hands to a traditional chant. Many others used eclipse glasses, telescopes or binoculars to look at the spectacle above.

The crowd grew anxious and reached its loudest pitch as a cloud covered the sun and moon just before the annular phase. They cheered and whistled for the cloud to move.

One man, who had traveled from Slovakia to photograph the eclipse, clapped from the top of a temple.

A woman shouted “Listo,” the Spanish word for “ready,” from the top of a ruin.

As the eclipse emerged, the crowd erupted in applause. “Bravo,” the same woman shouted.

Local officials have cautioned for months that thousands of tourists would flock to the Yucatán Peninsula for the eclipse. But organizers and local researchers have been intent on celebrating the Indigenous communities with deep-rooted pasts in astronomy.

Before the eclipse on Friday in the city of Campeche, representatives of Indigenous communities from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, including the Andean and Maya people, laid out four different flower petals on a stone courtyard to form the symbol of an eclipse. At the center, they put a pile of yellow flowers to symbolize the sun.

Victoriano Chin Huchim, a H’men, or Maya healer, of Nunkiní in the state of Campeche, attended the festivities on Friday evening to honor the traditions of his grandfather, who, like many Maya people, viewed eclipses with trepidation.

“The belief is that for the pregnant woman, if they touch their belly” during the eclipse, Mr. Huchim said, the baby could be harmed.

But as he burned candles and herbs in front of a crowd in Campeche, including people in traditional feathered Indigenous attire, Mr. Huchim said he was focused on celebrating the spectacle with hope.

“It’s the end of one cycle,” he said, “and the start of the beginning of another.”

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