A Puerto Vallarta based pre-hispanic dance circle shares a lovely greeting with arriving whales.
On November 2nd, Atzin Yolohtli Circulo de Ofrenda gathered their circle and some friends together to dance and make an offering to greet the whales in a “Ceremonia de recibimiento a las ballenas (Ceremony of welcome to the whales)”. The ceremony involved multiple parts, some taking places on the beach and some taking place in the small public plaza “Ueymich Kaltenpa” in front of Hotel Rosita.
Guests were asked to come in traditional clothing or dressed in white. They were also asked to bring “taquito para compartir” which literally translates to “taco to share”, but actually means to bring some kind of food or snack to share.
The ceremony began at 4:30pm and included a beautiful altar, limpiezas, dancing, singing traditional cantos, making an offering to the ocean on behalf of the whales, and one of the members of the circle dressed up like a whale dancing along the beach. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a limpieza is, it is a Mexican Ancestral Spiritual Cleansing Ritual that is meant to cleanse the body, emotions, mind and soul from any negative energies.
Limpiezas are often used to clear blockages, and is also believed by some to remove witchcraft, curses and hexes. According to instituteofshamanismandcuranderismo.com, they can also be used to attract happiness, love, health, abundance, work and more. Limpiezas also clear the path for improved communication with the spirit world, which is why they are traditionally performed as part of preparation for a ceremony or other spiritual work. The belief is that in order to be a clear channel for the divine, one needs to have their being cleansed. Limpiezas come in many forms, from plants to salt baths to eggs to sacred waters to smudging to crystals and beyond. The most common type of limpieza that is used in ceremony preparation is smoke cleansing. Sahumerios (sahumador) are prepared with hot coal and ocote that typically come from a larger fire (referred to as the abuelo fuego). Then small pieces of copal, tobacco, palo santo and/or other elements are sprinkled on top to create the cleansing smoke. Then each participant is cleansed with the smoke as the people doing the limpiezas continue to sprinkle more copal/tobacco/etc. on the hot coal, continuously creating more smoke.
After the limpiezas, the dancing began. The ceremony later moved from the beach to the small plaza to finish with some final dancing and cantos. It was a beautiful way to honor both the ancestral traditions of Mexico and the arrival of the majestic whales that so many people look forward to seeing every year during their yearly migration.
If you go out to see the whales in a small or private boat, please remember to be respectful of their space. When the whales are in our beautiful bay, they are looking to mate and rest. They need peace and space for both of those things. Let’s respect the incredible wildlife that surrounds us as we enjoy the beauty of our beloved bay!
If you’re looking for a whale watching experience, you can contact Vallarta Vamonos:
If you’re interested in booking a limpieza, contact Flow Vallarta to be connected to a trusted source: