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"El Castillo - equinox" Top 5 Page for this destination Ruinas Chichén-Itzá Things to Do Tip by Maria_75

Ruinas Chichén-Itzá Things to Do: 287 reviews and 491 photos

  The pyramid showing the shadow at equinox
by Maria_75

One of the most amazing things of the ruins is the event that occurs at equinox. The word comes from latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). These two times of year the sun passes directly over equator, and the length of the night and day are the same.

At the base of the staircases are heads of the feathered serpent, Kukulcán. At about 4 or 5pm every equinox the sun shines trough the sides of the pyramids, and the shadow of a triangle appears on top of the staircase side. As the sun is descending it passes through the rest of the sides, and the shadow appears to be crawling down the side like a snake untill it finally reaches the head at the bottom.

Many sees this as a symbol of the snake coming down to the earth from heaven. This again can be a symbol of fertility, telling the people when to plant the seeds or to harvest the crops. The fertile season of the region is (of course...) from equinox in spring to equinox in fall.

The shades form 7 light triangles and 6 shadow triangles, making 13 triangles. This has been connected with the 13 compartments of the underworld. The Maya universe was comprised of 13 compartments in 7 levels with each compartment being ruled over by a different god.

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  • Written Nov 12, 2004
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