lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

The sound of thousands of hooves and dancing revellers' feet is filling the air at the Festival of El Cedral in Cozumel, this weekend.

Events include rodeos, bullfights, riding displays, music, dancing, horse racing, roast meat feasts and more, all based at the old village of El Cedral in the island's south.

This annual local event is said to be 168 years old and legend has it that it was started by an early settler to the island who was fleeing war on the mainland.

In his recent book, The True History Of Cozumel, local historian, Ric Hajovsky, has thrown this story into doubt, but like a lot of popular legends it is still believed by many islanders and makes a wonderful tale to tell.

The story goes that the festival was first established by Casimiro Cárdenas, one of a band that fled to the island during the War of the Castes after seeing many of his companions killed in a vicious attack on his village of Saban on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Running from the slaughter, Cárdenas is said to have escaped to Cozumel whilst clutching a small wooden cross and vowed to honor the crucifix's religious strength by founding an annual festival wherever he settled.

With the official title of the Festival of El Cedral and the Fiestas of Santa Cruz, the celebrations are open every year to locals and visitors alike.

Nowadays, rowdy revellers enjoy traditional Yucatecan and Mexican feasts and parties, as well as music, dancing, competitions, rodeos, bullfights and plenty of ice cold Mexican beer.

Photos courtesy of Cozumel Municipal Government.

You can also see the town of El Cedral at any time on the following excursions:

Cozumel Taxi Tour.

Cozumel ATV Tour.

ATV Jungle Snorkel Combo.

Xrail Jungle Buggy Madness.