Ancient Mayan Religious Beliefs and Rituals How did the Mayans worship their gods Maya religion was far more complicated than the simple worship of gods of nature. The Maya world was composed of 3 layers - the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld. The village chief acted as the leader of political life, as well as the priest.
What is known of pre-Spanish Maya religion stems from heterogeneous sources the primary ones being of Maya origin: Primary sources from pre-Spanish times: Among the main concepts relating to Maya ritual are the following ones. Ritual topography and calendrical mapping The Maya landscape is a ritual topography, with landmarks such as mountains, wells and caves being assigned to specific ancestors and deities see also Maya cave sites.
Ritual was governed not only by the geographical lay-out of shrines and temples, but also by the projection of calendrical models onto the landscape.
In contemporary Quichean Momostenangofor example, specific combinations of day-names and numbers are ascribed to specialized shrines in the mountains, signalling the appropriate times for their ritual use. It is not known in how far this festival cycle was shared by the other Yucatec kingdoms, and if it was also valid for the earlier Mayan kingdoms there in that period of time.
Thus, a drink made of exactly grains of parched maize was to be offered to participants in a pre-Spanish New Year ritual, and on another occasion the precise number of 49 grains of maize mixed with copal incense was to be burnt. In contemporary sacrificial rites, there is an overall emphasis on the sprinkling of blood, especially that of turkeys.
In the pre-Spanish past, sacrifice usually consisted of animals such as deer, dog, quail, turkey, and fish, but on exceptional occasions such as accession to the throne, severe illness of the ruler, royal burial, or drought and famine also came to include human beings, adults as well as children.
Priesthood The traditional Maya have their own religious functionaries, often hierarchically organized, and charged with the duties of praying and sacrificing on behalf of lineages, local groups, or the entire community.
The performance of many of the indigenous priests, but especially of the curers, shows features also associated with shamanism. The upper echelon of the priesthood was a repository of learning, also in the field of history and genealogical knowledge.
Aroundthe Yucatec priesthood was hierarchically organized, from the high priest living at the court down to the priests in the towns, and the priestly books were distributed along these lines. Some priests were ordinary diviners, while others had specialized knowledge of the katun cycle. Little is known with certainty concerning the Classic Maya priesthood.
Iconographically, there can be no serious doubt but that the aged, ascetic figures depicted as writing and reading books, aspersing and inaugurating dignitaries and kings, and overseeing human sacrifice, represent professional priests and high priests at court. Certain hieroglyphic titles of noblemen have been interpreted as priestly ones e.
Purification Purificatory measures such as fasting, sexual abstention, bathing, and especially in the pre-Spanish past confession generally precede major ritual events. The bloodletting-rituals see below may also have had a purificatory function.
More generally, purification is needed before entering areas inhabited by deities.
Prayer Maya prayer almost invariably accompanies acts of offering and sacrifice. It often takes the form of long litanies, in which the names of personified days, saints, angels rain and lightning deitiesfeatures of the landscape connected with historical or mythical events, and mountains are particularly prominent.
Prayers, with their hypnotizing scansion, often show a dyadic couplet structure which has also been recognized in Classic period texts. Pilgrimages Through pilgrimages, which create networks connecting places regionally as well as over larger distances, Maya religion transcends the limits of the local community.
Dramatic performance and impersonation Feasts would include dramatic performances and the impersonation of deities, especially by the king. Feasting and dramatic performance In recent times, feasts are usually organized by religious brotherhoods, with the greatest expenses being for the higher charges.
Through the feasts, capital could be redistributed in food and drink. The continual and obligatory drinking, negatively commented on by early as well as contemporary outsiders, establishes community, not only among the human participants, but also between these and the deities.
Both in recent times and in the Classic Period, more complex rituals would include music and dance, processions, and theatrical play. For the late Postclassic period, Landa mentions specific dances executed during either the New Year rituals e. The god most often shown dancing during the Classic period is the Tonsured Maize Goda patron of feasting.
Impersonation The theatrical impersonation of deities and animals, a general Mesoamerican practice, also characterized pre-Hispanic Mayan performances and included the wayob were-animals.Food Timeline--history notes: Aztec, Maya & Inca foods. Mar 03, · The traditional Maya religion of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and the Tabasco, Chiapas, and Yucatán regions of Mexico is a southeastern variant of Mesoamerican religion.
As is the case with many other contemporary Mesoamerican religions, it results from centuries of symbiosis with Roman Catholicism. Ritual sacrifices played a vital role in the Mayan realm. They sacrificed both animals and humans. Animals that were sacrificed in great numbers included crocodiles, iguanas, dogs, peccaries, jaguars, and .
Aug 29, · Watch video · The Maya were deeply religious, and worshiped various gods related to nature, including the gods of the sun, the moon, rain and corn.
At the top of Maya . Maya Religion The Mayans worshiped a broad array of deities. The exact order of their importance is not exactly clear. However, it is believed that the ancient Mayans called their supreme god Hunab Ku.
An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya [Mary Ellen Miller, Karl Taube] on benjaminpohle.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The myths and beliefs of the great pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica have baffled and fascinated outsiders ever since the Spanish Conquest.