“Place of the god Kinich” or “place where the sun hides”, located in the northwest part of the state, on the way to the port of Celestún. It’s a lovely area where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility, and meet the friendly locals who will happily tell you all about the town’s history.
A long time ago a competition took place between two Maya towns, to choose the place where the capital of the state would be established, Th’o (Mérida) and Tzemé, located in the municipality of Kinchil.
The competition consisted of each town building a church and making the bells ring so loudly that they could be heard all over the region. But due to some reason never revealed by the Tzemé (Kinchil) ancestors, they were late in the ringing of the bells, thereby losing their chance for this honor.
When you drive through this region, don’t forget to visit this pretty town and talk with the elders, who you’ll find sitting outside their houses in the mornings and evenings. Visit the 16th century Catholic church, honoring the “Cristo de las Ampollas” (Christ of the blisters) or “Cristo del Amor (Christ of love).” It is said that some years ago, when it arrived, the image wasn’t worshipped; so if one of the town members passed by and didn’t cross himself, something would happen to him. Ever since then, the patron saint of the municipality is celebrated in May, with a traditional party in the town.
The party starts on May 1st with the “gremios,” the traditional processions with images, dances, and “voladores,” followed by amazing fireworks such as the “wacaxcak” (fire bull in Maya), the pig, the deer, and even the turkey. And, you can’t miss the delicious Cochinita Pibil tacos and a glass of homemade “horchata” (rice drink) prepared in the traditional way.
The big “Vaquería” (regional dance) night marks the beginning of the town’s celebrations, followed by the traditional folk dances. This town loves partying throughout the month of May and into the beginning of June, so be sure to go during their celebrations and enjoy the regional gastronomy such as the “Relleno Negro,” the “panuchos” that you will find every day at the market, and more.
Kinchil is dedicated to the production of organic chile habanero throughout the year. Don’t forget to visit “Kinchiles” and buy some of their products, you will find freshly harvested chiles, and chile pastes and powders for cooking. You will find them in a little store beside the church with our friend “Don Chetos.”
In the market you can find a great variety of fruits such as sweet oranges, limes, grapefruit, and seasonal fruits, harvested by the farmers. Continue on your way to the port of Celestún, and look for the delicious cold coconuts that you can buy on the side of the highway, as well as pretty handcrafts; baskets are a local specialty. A perfect souvenir from your visit to Kinchil.
By: Alfredo Tec Alonzo
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