December 7, 2023

Brighton Journal

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The most prominent events of the “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse of 2023

The most prominent events of the “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse of 2023

Hundreds of people gathered hours before the eclipse at the archaeological site of Edzana, once home to the indigenous Maya people, who for centuries predicted the cycles leading to a solar eclipse.

Daniel Arredondo and Tania Campos, photographers from Mérida, Mexico, woke up at 3 a.m. and were the first to arrive on site. Mr. Arredondo said it meant even more to watch the event from the Mayan ruins.

“I like that the ancestors had to show us knowledge of the moons, stars and sun, so that’s why it’s more attractive here,” he said.

A little more than an hour after the eclipse, with an orange crescent forming in the sky, the MC at Edzana Square began guiding the audience into meditation. Some of the attendees sitting among the ruins, temples, and grassy square extended their hands to the sky.

The Spanish-language program presenter said that this moment represents “signs of change for a new opportunity, to make a change in your life, to think about the things we want to give up and the moments that balance our lives.”

While some meditated, others clapped their hands to a traditional chant. Many other people have used eclipse glasses, telescopes, or binoculars to look at the scene above.

The crowd became restless and reached its highest levels as the cloud covered the sun and moon just before the annular phase. They cheered and whistled until the cloud moved.

One man, who traveled from Slovakia to photograph the eclipse, applauded from the top of a temple.

“Lesto,” the Spanish word for “ready,” a woman shouted from the top of one of the ruins.

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As the eclipse appeared, the audience burst into applause. “Bravo,” the same woman shouted.

Local officials have warned for months that thousands of tourists will flock to the Yucatan Peninsula to watch the eclipse. But local organizers and researchers were determined to celebrate indigenous communities with a deeply rooted past in astronomy.

Before the eclipse occurred on Friday in the city of Campeche, representatives of indigenous communities from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, including the Andean and Mayan peoples, placed four different flower petals on a stone courtyard to form a symbol of the eclipse. In the middle they placed a pile of yellow flowers symbolizing the sun.

Victoriano Chin Hochim, a Maya healer from Nonkeni in Campeche state, attended the festivities on Friday evening to honor the traditions of his grandfather, who, like many Mayans, viewed the eclipse with fear.

“The belief is that for a pregnant woman, if she touches her stomach” during the eclipse, the baby could be harmed, Hochim said.

But as he burned candles and herbs in front of a crowd of people in Campeche, including people dressed in traditional indigenous clothing, Mr. Hochim said he was focused on celebrating the spectacle with hope.

“It is the end of one cycle, and the beginning of another,” he said.