Cozumel Mexico Vacation Guide
 

Cozumel Mexico; Culture, History, and Current Events.


Cozumel Mexico has a culture all its own that has evolved over time. However, in order to really understand the culture of today’s “Cozumeleño” you must first examine its past. The islands native inhabitants are of Mayan descent, and not Mexican, as many still believe. As with all cultures; it is an ever evolving process (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate") .

Here is a chronology which will give you some insight into what is Cozumel Mexico today!

The Mayas (Post-Classic Mayas):

It gave great significance to urban centers and religious beliefs that are manifest in places likeCozumel Mexico; stone carvings Chichen Itza , Tulum, and San Gervasio (which is located here on Cozumel ). Their stone carvings are also an indication of their advanced and literate culture. A pilgrimage to visit San Gervasio which was the home of the Goddess Ixchel ("She of the Rainbows"), deity of, fertility, midwifery, weaving, and medicine, was a must for every Mayan at least once in their life.

Now lets advance to modern day Culture:

During my first visit to Cozumel , when it was still a sleepy little fishing village, I was struck by the genuine friendliness of the people. This culture of sincere friendliness is still pervasive to this day, and is inherited from the culture if its ancestors.

Of course, as with all cultures that evolve; Cozumel Mexico is now a blend of Mayan, Mexican, Caribbean , as well as influences brought to the island from its over 2 million visitors a year.

A hammock weaver in today's cultureMayan art is a reflection their culture and lifestyle. You can find much of it represented in the shops located in downtown San Miguel. It is predominantly comprised of stone carvings, wooden masks, and paintings on paper, pottery, and terra cotta figurines. Making art from metal was also highly developed in Mayan culture.

One very popular item that tourist buy today are the hand woven hammocks, which are still used by many of the locals to sleep on.

Most of the islands 2 million plus visitors per year enjoy the natural beauty of its coral reefs, exotic flora and fauna, crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, as well as its archeological remnants which can most clearly be seen in the ruins of San Gervasio.

Other attractions which are a magnet for today’s tourist are represented in the preservation of traditions; such as Cozumel ’s annual Carnival event, which is extremely popular. The festival in El Cedral which is the festival of Santa Cruz in May, Easter week, Christmas, as well as San Miguel which is held in September are to name a few. These events are a combination of pre-Hispanic and catholic rituals.

Calendar of our most notable events:

Carnival (pronounced Carnaval)


The celebration of Carnival is probably the most popular attraction on the island annually.  For the most part it is a five-day festivity that involves dancing, parades with elaborate floats, costumes, various music venues, and spontaneous exhibits which travel warf throughout the town. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing this spectacular event, it is worth a special trip just to participate!

 

Dia de la Candelaria

It is a celebration which occurs at the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring, and is the last holiday recognizing the end of the Christmas season. Locals dance and hold processions while singing in the streets before going to church to receive their blessing of candles and seeds. Afterwards there is a gathering of family and friends at the home of the person who found the doll during the celebration of the Three Kings.

 

Dia de los Santos Reyes

Unlike the United States where Santa Claus is the symbol of Christmas; Mexico ’s icons of Christmas are the Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes). Instead of exchanging gifts on December 25, they are exchanged on January 6th. This date is the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and is in commemoration of the three wise men that traveled from afar to bring gifts for the infant baby Jesus.

Dia de la Constitucion

 

This is the official holiday which annually commemorates the drafting of Mexico ’s constitution (February 5th, 1917). There is of course a parade which takes place along the waterfront downtown and culminates at the plaza which houses the large Mexican flag depicted on the right. Just remember to do your shopping the day before because most businesses are not open on this day.

 

El Grito

 

On midnight September 15th, everyone comes together in the Central Plaza to re-enact the event when Miguel Hidalgo inspired the oppressed native people to rise up against the Spaniards with the cry of “Mexicanos, Viva Mexico” (long live Mexico)! This celebration is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks and music which lasts throughout the night with dancing until dawn. This is followed by a national holiday in celebration of the fight for Mexico ’s independence.

 

Dia de la Bandera de Mexico

 

This holiday lands on February 24th and honors the Mexican Flag (Flag Day). The day was first established by the president of Mexico in 1937 commemorating the day when General Lázaro Cárdenas before the monument to General Vicente Guerrero, was the first to pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag on March 12, 1821. It is of course followed by festivities in the Central Plaza with a special ceremony, parade, and fiesta!

 

Located in Downtown Cozumel

There are countless other events and activities that celebrate the breath and scope of the islands ever evolving culture. In order to get a true sense of our island paradise you will just have to come and witness it for yourself! Below this page are links to some of the most popular activities and points of interest.

I hope that you have gained some insight into the culture, history, and events which make up a part of this most unique cultural experience.

Oh yes, one last thing; make sure to visit the town square on Sunday night around 9:00. Every week there is a band that plays in the gazebo to a crowd of mostly locals. You may be the tallest member of the crowd but you will walk away with the magic of what is the culture of Cozumel !