“The riders need to drink alcohol so that they don’t feel afraid.”
Dude, drunken horse racing is a legit thing in Guatemala.
Let’s back up for a second. It’s right around the Day of the Dead and the townspeople of Todos Santos celebrate with a three-day festival culminating in this sometimes deadly race. The history of the festival dates back to when the Spanish conquistadors invaded Guatemala and enslaved and killed all the Mayans in their path. Those who were enslaved were not allowed to touch anything that belonged to the Spanish, especially not the horses.
Once the Spanish arrived in Todos Santos, one brave Mayan stole a horse and raced it around the town until he was caught and executed. So every year since then, the residents of the town honor this courageous Mayan.
So what better way to celebrate this brave Mayan than with traditionally colorful outfits, horses and alcohol…lots of alcohol? We don’t know either. Oh, there’s a chicken too. Check out Vice’s video above.
In the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatán on the Yucatán Peninsula, an archaeological team digging at a lightly explored site near the tiny, picturesque village of Ucanha uncovered something highly unusual. It was a giant human-looking face, as tall as a person and sculpted in stucco. Its features clearly identified it as a Mayan mask of the ancient Maya civilization, which enjoyed total hegemony in this part of the world more than one thousand years ago.
But this new discovery won’t be put on display for the world to see and here’s why.
A giant Mayan mask as tall as a person has been revealed in the Yucatán.
The mask, which depicts the face of an unknown deity or elite person, was sculpted from the building material stucco and dates back to a period in history known as the Late Preclassic (about 300 B.C. — A.D. 250), according to the news outlet Novedades Yucatán.
The discovery was made in 2017 at the archaeological site of Ucanha, near the modern-day city of Motul, and since then researchers with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have worked painstakingly to restore it.
Intheir statement announcing the finding , INAH stated that sculptures like these “represent the faces of individuals with particular features that can be associated with deities or with characters of prominent social status.” It was a common practice in Maya civilization to decorate buildings with large-scale, embedded decorative sculptures, which often featured the faces of rulers or gods.
The team of researches have worked to restore the giant mask and protect it from the elements.
The mask is a stucco relief, a type of brightly-colored painted sculpture carved from a background of stucco. The Maya typically placed these masks around stairways with pyramidal bases, according to the statement. Archaeologists have found similar reliefs in Acanceh and Izamal, but this is the first in Ucanha. The discovery is part of ongoing research into Mayan mounds found at the site.
During the restoration and conservation process, archaeologists reinforced fragile parts of the mask. They also moved sections that had been displaced over time back to their original positions. They also cleaned the surfaces to highlight the mask’s patterns and colors.
Since being restored, the mask has been reburied for its own protection.
The mask was temporarily reburied after its discovery so that the structure was protected until it could be properly studied and preserved. Samples taken from the structure revealed deterioration and it was re-excavated in 2018 so that archaeologists could restore it.
The archaeologists completed the work in 2019, before reburying the mask for a final time. INAH said the goal of these efforts is to ensure the long-term preservation of the mask at the site, which does not have legal protection.
It is important to be a responsible tourist. This means following rules, acting responsibly, and not violating sacred places. That is something one tourist learned the hard way when she climbed the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.
Here’s the video of a tourist running down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkán.
The Pyramid of Kukulkán is one of the most iconic examples of Pre-Hispanic architecture and culture in Mesoamerica. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. In 2017, more than 2 million visitors descended on the site.
Of course, #LadyKukulkan started to trend on Twitter.
You know that Twitter was ready to start calling out this woman for her actions. According to Yucatán Expat Life Magazine, the woman was there to honor her husband’s dying wish. The woman, identified as a tourist from Tijuana, wanted to spread her husband’s ashes on the top of the pyramid, which it seems that she did.
The video was a moment for Mexican Twitter.
Not only was she arrested by security when she descended, but the crowd was also clearly against her. Like, what was she even thinking? It isn’t like the pyramid is crawling with tourists all over it. She was the only person climbing the pyramid, which is federally owned and cared for.
The story is already sparking ideas for other people when they die.
“Me: (to my parents) Have you read about #ladykukulkan? My Dad: Yes! (to my mom) When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the National Palace so they call you “Lady Palace,” sounds better, no?” wrote @hania_jh on Twitter.