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A Maya wedding ceremony in Mexico

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A Maya Wedding in Mexico

The Hacienda Xcanatun (ssh-kana-toon) near Merida offers a memorable wedding ceremony. A
restored, former sisal hacienda, Hacienda Xcanatun (Tall Stone House in Maya) specializes in its unusual Maya Marriage Ceremony, held in the garden palapa, surrounded by bright flowers and thick greenery. 

A Maya shaman (priest) presides over the ceremony, whose centerpiece is a traditional table altar, covered with an embroidered cloth and offerings of candles, flowers, water, bread and grains of corn---all life-giving elements.

Traditionally, the bride wears a ceremonial white embroidered huipil, and the groom a cool, white guayabera, popular with Mexican men.  Musicians accompany the bride and the groom into the palapa.

While the couple kneels at the table altar, the shaman offers his blessings and chants, describing the responsibilities of marriage.

Both bride and groom drink blessed water and eat bread, as a symbolic act of sharing throughout their marriage. The ceremony ends with the couple sipping Xtabentun (the local honey and herb liquor), joined by guests bearing candles. Musicians serenade the bridal cortege as it exits the palapa.

Shaman-led Maya wedding and vow-renewal ceremonies are also arranged in Xcanatun's restored chapel. The legal formalities are handled through Xcanatun's on-site wedding coordinator.

Privately owned and managed, the 18th century Hacienda Xcanatun's air-conditioned suites are individually decorated with carved cedar doors, handcrafted Caribbean colonial furnishings, antiques, heirloom textiles, original paintings and marble-wrapped bathrooms with soaring skylights.
Its 5-star restaurant serves a fusion cuisine blending French technique with Caribbean and local ingredients. Other facilities include 2 freshwater swimming pools and an intimate spa providing traditional Maya and wellness treatments.

Up to 36 guests can be accommodated in 18 suites.

An optional package is the Private Maya Interlude, a 90-minute session provided by Carolina Martinez, Xcanatun's Maya therapist, trained by her shaman grandfather.

First, she adds atmosphere and fragrance to the bridal suite with candles and incense. Then, combining organic honey, bee pollen and royal jelly, she offers a gentle couple's massage to regenerate and moisturize the skin.

After placing fresh flowers from the Hacienda's garden on each person's body "to bring the soul into balance," Carolina administers reflexology treatments on feet, neck and hands. The Maya Interlude ends with a melodious chant said to promote a couple's well-being, longevity and happiness. As Carolina leaves, she fills the carved stone bathtub---big enough for 2--or the terrace hydrotherapy tub with perfumed water and lights the surrounding candles.

Sound good? Here's what it costs:


Hacienda Xcanatun offers 3-5 night Maya Wedding & Honeymoon packages.  The cost per couple for 3 nights is $1498 (May 1 through October 31, 2004);$1595 (Nov. 1 Dec. 15, 2004 & Jan. 7 April 30, 2005). The 5 night package is $1980 per couple (May through October 31, 2004);$2,120 (Nov. 1 Dec. 15, 2004/Jan.7 April 30, 2005).

Each package includes accommodations in a Master or Deluxe Suite, Welcome cocktail, fruit basket, daily continental breakfast, the Maya Wedding or Vow Renewal Ceremony; an in-suite Maya Interlude Massage, a candlelit 3-course champagne wedding feast, Merida airport transfers and all taxes/service charges amounting to 22%.    

For more information,

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