20/03/2009Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza

The Spring equinox usually falls on the 20th or 21st of March although the dates for the Spring Equinox may vary slightly from year to year.

What is the Spring Equinox?
On the equinox the sun is positioned directly over the equator. The word “equinox” means ‘equal night’ because the day is equal in length to the night. There are two equinoxes during the year, the spring equinox which falls around March 21 and the autumn equinox which falls around September 21. The day of the spring equinox marks the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza
The pyramid of Kukulcan, otherwise known as ‘El Castillo’, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is one of the greatest surviving monuments of the Mayan civilization. The spring equinox at Chichen Itza is the setting for one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see, the descent of the Feathered Serpent.

If you are lucky enough to see this incredible example of the Mayan people’s ingenuity and architectural genius you will be truly amazed. At the precise time of the spring equinox, the sun casts its rays on the NE stairway of the Kukulcan ‘El Castillo’ pyramid, creating a play of shadow and light which looks like a serpent slithering down the pyramid as the sun moves through the sky. You can see this vision for a few days - from around March 19th to the 23rd, but on the actual date of the equinox the effect is most dramatic. If you happen to miss this date you will get another chance during the autumn equinox on September 21 when the feathered serpent is again seen descending the great pyramid.

It tends to get very busy with thousands of people flocking to Chichen Itza to experience this phenomenon. Please take note there are very few hotels near to the ruins, but there are many tours available from Cancun which will bring you back after the event.