Equinox at Chichen Itza
By Becky Brandborg
and astrological marvel that it is, one of the most exciting times to
see the Castle or Castillo at Chichen Itza is during the Autumnal
and Vernal (Fall and Spring) Equinoxes.
After years of study and investigation, Mexican researcher
Luis Arochi recognized that the Kukulkan’s
Pyramid was closely related to the equinoxes. The Mayans had been
brilliant astronomers and mathematicians. This is seen in many of the
structures that are left at Chichen Itza. But the engineering of the central
Pyramid is so exact that with the arrival of either equinox, seven
triangles of sunlight are projected down the north face staircase.
As you can see in the photo, when you add the carving of the serpent's
head at the base of the stairway it gives the illusion that the snake
is dropping from the sky, symbolizing (some say) the return of fertility
to the earth.
This is a time of great celebration at Chichen Itza and
the other Mayan ruins throughout the Yucatan. If you do not enjoy crowds
this is not the time to view the ruins. Approximately 25,000 visitors
attend the celebration on the mall. It is however worth doing
just once. The shadow of the serpent is also visible two days before and
two days after the equinox.
addition to this important event the Castillo or Pyramid is thought to
have been used as a calendar. Being centrally located in the main square,
flags could have been placed on the steps representing the day. When you
add the 91 steps on each of the four sides together you come up with 364
days the base of the crowning temple platform being the 365th day. In
this manner, anyone walking through the mall would know at a glance the
All in all the El Castillo or Kukulkan’s Pyramid
is without a doubt one of the most impressive monuments at Chichen Itza.
And during the Equinox it puts on an impressive show.
Chichen Itza A Practical Guide and Photo Album by Xavier Alducin
The Mysteries of Chichen Itza by Alberto Rivera A.
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