Cementerio Mexicano at Xcaret Park

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Cementerio Mexicano at Xcaret Park

Cemetery at Xcaret

Cemetery at Xcaret with the Kapok tree

Most people think of cemeteries as scary, creepy place or maybe you think of Pet Cemetery and dead animals coming back to life!  But you may be surprised to know that most cultures don’t think of cemeteries as bad places.  In Mexico, for example, the cemetery is a place for remembrance and even a little partying on the Day of the Dead and at Xcaret Park you can see one of the very unique ways that this culture honors their dead.

In Xcaret Park, one of the main attractions is the cemetery.   Although the tradition of decorating gravesites is post-Mayan, it is still a very integral part of the culture.  Where most cultures fear death, the Mexican-Mayan culture sees it as a part of life and after you die, you are remembered.   Every year the Mexican-Mayan people celebrate the lives of those lost by decorating their gravesites, offering drinks and food and partying a little!  But the graves at Xcaret Park aren’t actually graves, so no need to worry!   The “graves” are actually altars to the dead.   Although the people aren’t buried there, they are remembered and celebrated at the Xcaret Park Cemetery!  At Xcaret Park during the Day of the Dead celebration, the cemetery gets a make over as each altar is decorated and cleaned up.

The cemetery at Xcaret Park, like everything else, was constructed with the symbolism of the Mayans.  Each grave represents one day of the year, there are 52 stairs leading to the cemetery one for each week of the year and the entire cemetery is in a cone shape with seven hills representing the days of the week.   In the Xcaret Park cemetery, you will 365 “graves” that are as unique and individual as the people themselves.  Some decorated with tequila and beer for the adults and some decorated with small toys for the children that are still missed.   Walking through the cemetery you actually learn something about the people being remembered there.  Some are funny and others are more somber.  As you reach the top of the cemetery, you can see most of the Xcaret Park along with four Kapok trees.  The Kapok tree was believed by the Mayans to be the link between the worlds.  With the branches in the heavens, the trunk in our world and the roots in the underworld, this tree is a perfect choice for the place where so many souls are remembered.

The cemetery at Xcaret Park is one of the best attractions and will leave you will a sense of how the Mexican-Mayan people truly love those that are no longer with us.

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