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Mayan Ball Game: Pok–Ta–Pok

Pok-Ta–Pok is an ancient Mayan ball game, that was played thousands of years ago as part of a sacred, sacrificial ceremony, pitting good against evil. The general belief is that the ball, five pounds of solid rubber, could only be hit with forearms and thighs. The goal of the game was to maneuver the ball through a stone hoop extending from a wall. The winner (yes, winner!) of the game was sacrificed, which was then the highest honor bestowed on a Mayan player.

Pok-Ta-Pok ball courts, which must have been inspiration for Harry Potter's Quidditch, can still be found at Mayan archeological sites, such as Chichen Itza, and Uxmal.

Friday nights the ancient sport is reenacted in front of Merida Cathedral–luckily though, sans sacrifice. It's fun to watch and it gets pretty crazy towards the end, when the ball is literally ON FIRE, prompting faster passes, for sure.

Get there a little early to grab close-up seats, or a position close to the rails. It is good to be near the action.

>>>A heartfelt thank you to Yucatan Tourism for an unforgettable 4 days in the Yucatan, my new favorite place in Mexico! @YucatanTourism #TravelYucatan

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