Hundreds of people gathered hours before the eclipse at the archaeological site of Etsna, once the home of the indigenous Maya people, who for centuries had predicted cycles that would result in solar eclipses.
Daniel Arredondo and Tania Campos, two photographers from Merida, Mexico, woke up at 3 a.m. and were the first in line at the site. It makes more sense to witness the event from the Mayan ruins, Mr. Arredondo said.
“I want the ancestors to show us the knowledge of the moons, the stars and the sun, and that’s why it’s so fascinating here,” he said.
More than an hour into the eclipse, an MC at Etsna Plaza began instructing people on meditation as an orange crescent appeared in the sky. Seated among the ruins, temples and lawns, some participants stretched their arms towards the sky.
The MC said in Spanish that this moment “is a sign of change for a new opportunity, to make a change in your life and to think about the things we want to let go of, to think about the moments that balance our lives.”
While some meditated, others clapped to traditional chants. Many people used eclipse glasses, binoculars, or telescopes to view the scene above.
The crowd grew enthusiastically and reached its loudest pitch as a cloud covered the sun and moon just before the ring stage. They whistled and cheered to make the cloud move.
A man who had traveled from Slovakia to photograph the eclipse clapped from the top of the temple.
A woman shouted “listo,” the Spanish word for “get ready,” from atop the rubble.
After the eclipse appeared, the crowd went wild. “Bravo,” shouted the same woman.
Local officials have warned for months that thousands of tourists will flock to the Yucatan Peninsula for the eclipse. But organizers and local researchers are eager to celebrate past tribal communities deeply rooted in astronomy.
Before Friday’s eclipse 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 patio to symbolize the eclipse. In the center, they piled yellow flowers to represent the sun.
Victoriano Chin Huchim, an H’men or Maya healer from Nungini in Campeche state, attended ceremonies Friday evening honoring the legacy of his grandfather, who, like many Maya people, watched the eclipses with trepidation.
“For a pregnant woman, if they touch the belly,” said Mr. The belief is that Huchim can harm the child.
But as he lit candles and herbs in front of a crowd in Campeche, including people in traditional feathered tribal dress, Mr. Huchim said he will focus on celebrating the scene with optimism.
“It’s the end of one cycle, the beginning of another,” he said.