Mayan Thanksgiving in Mexico

Mayan Thanksgiving

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is considered a national holiday celebrated every year with great joy. It’s a celebration to commemorate the “First Thanksgiving” when in October of 1621 the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans celebrated their first harvest at the New World, which is believed to have lasted three days and that it involved about 90 Wampanoag people. Today, this holiday is held to give thanks for the harvest and other blessings received over the prior year. And, because it is such an important event, it has transcended many international borders and is now celebrated in many countries, but here we’ll tell how is Thanksgiving in Mexico celebrated.

How Do Mexicans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Mexico is celebrated in a very similar way nowadays. Known as Día de Acción de Gracias or Día de Dar Gracias, as in America, it’s also held every 4th Thursday of November. This festivity has been celebrated in Mexico for decades now, and although its popularity decreased for some time in the early 1900s, its popularity came back and is still held to this day.

Thanksgiving in Mexico is mostly interpreted as a religious holiday, where people use this occasion to give thanks to God for all of the blessings they’ve been granted throughout the year, typically starting with a prayer before digging into their delicious food. Mexican Thanksgiving dinner normally consists in foods that are typically found in the area, although, people respect all the classic American dishes, just adding our own colorful spicy Mexican touch.

There are several traditions celebrated around this time of the year like Día de Muertos, but if you’re wondering if there are other ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico, as weird as it might sound, in the south of Mexico, on the same land of one of the seven wonders, which you can visit on our amazing Chichen Itza tour, there is a Mayan version of Thanksgiving, well…kind of. They don’t celebrate it as the rest of Mexico or America, they have their own special way to honor the food, corn, and life.

Sac Ha’ The Mayan Version of Thanksgiving

Several times every year, just before the start of the main stages of maize production and growth, the Sac Ha ceremonial is held, a ceremony that prays for a bountiful harvest, a vital element for farmers.
Priests in the past used to stress how important it was to give thanks to mother earth for enabling prosperity and growth in the fields.

Sac Ha’ is represented on a special wooden altar, with four stones at the corners of the altar representing the cardinal points, and one stone in the center indicating the vertical connection between the earth and the sky. The sacred drink for this event is made with boiled corn, and ground mixed with water gathered from the morning dew or from the depths of a cave. 

Grandparents beware future generations that the Sac Ha’ must continue every year since it is a strong tradition. Any celebration, festival, or ceremony is very significant to Mayans in general, but the Sac Ha ceremony is one of the most significant, by giving thanks for crop growth and abundance, they believe they are ensuring a good harvest because local legends say that forgetting this custom could result in famine and drought.

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