Mayan Religion Essay

1937 words - 8 pages

In the Central America, most notably the Yucatan Peninsula, are the Maya, a group of people whose polytheistic religion and advanced civilization once flourished (Houston, 43). The Maya reached their peak during the Classic Period from around CE 250 to the ninth century CE when the civilization fell and dispersed (Sharer, 1). Although much has been lost, the gods and goddesses and the religious practices of the Classic Maya give insight into their lives and reveal what was important to this society.
The major Mayan gods and goddesses all have common characteristics and, according to “features which they share in large part with the gods of neighboring people of Middle America” (Thompson, ...view middle of the document...

Sometimes these groups were seen as one being (Thompson, 198). Among this group of four was a chief deity who ruled over them and minor gods, who acted as messengers and servants (Thompson, 200).
The Classic Maya knew their individual gods as k’uh (Houston, 11) and had two types of gods: the major gods, such as the rain or the sun gods; and the minor or lesser known gods (Houston, 11). Given the importance of astronomy in Mayan culture, the sun god and the moon goddess are quite important to the Mayans as well. Both deities are found on monuments erected during the Classic period (Thompson, 233) and other artifacts relating to the sun god have been found as well. Since a common depiction of the sun god has his front teeth “filed to the shape of a squat T” (Thompson, 236) and skulls with filed teeth in a similar fashion have been found at Mayan sites, this suggests those skulls belonged to people who might have been priests or devotees of the sun god. In other Classic representations of the sun god, he has square eyes and a Roman style nose (Thompson, 236). One of the names for the Mayan sun god is kin, for “sun” or “day”; Ah Kin; Kinich Ahau, for “Sun face” or “Sun eye Lord”; kih; ki; and many others that vary by region within the Mayan lowlands (Thompson, 235). As a celestial deity, the sun god was one of the nine lords of the night and of the underworld, being the ninth in the series (Thompson, 240). While the sun god was an important major deity with devotees, he was not as loved as other gods and goddesses were because if the rain god did not act, the sun would destroy the crops and bring drought (Thompson, 238). The moon goddess is usually seen as the wife of the sun god, who wooed the moon in his youth (Thompson, 242). The moon goddess is also the patron of disease and she is associated with bodies of water (Thompson, 244).
The Mayans believed that humans were made of maize and blood, making the maize god important to them (Thompson, 283). At the birth of a child in Mayan society, the umbilical cord was “cut over a multicolored ear of maize with a brand new obsidian knife” (Thompson, 283), but the knife was thrown into the river after the ceremony. The bloodstained maize was then smoke cured and the grain removed at the appropriate season and sown in the name of the child (Thompson, 283), furthering the importance of maize and the maize god to this society. The maize god is seen as being a passive deity, being eaten by birds and other animals or burning up from a drought (Thompson, 285). God A has a “skeletal appearance, as he usually occurs with protruding ribs, rickety limbs, and a flesh-less grinning skull” (Taube, 11) that shows up in both Class and Post-Classic portrayals. God A is a death god, who is often associated with God Q who is a god of sacrifice (Taube, 13). This deity has commonalities in appearance and function with those of a highland Mexican deity, Mictlantecuhtli. Like the sun god, God A did not have a “high status in...

Other Papers Like Mayan Religion

Apocolypto Essay Paper

814 words - 4 pages that wont advance a culture only destroy it, with religion people will be able to understand what is and what is not whats wrong and what is right giving people a mindset on how to live their lives. For example christianty was not apart of the mayan culture in this movie till the very end when the landing of the European ships and as you watch the boats full of men you see a cross and a coulple men some look like priest or men of the clergy and

Doomsday 2012: Prophets or Profits Essay

3076 words - 13 pages Mayan calendars and prophecies accurate; and do these prophecies predict the end of the world in 2012? And what has NASA said about all of this? When it comes to apocalyptic or “end of the world” prophecies it doesn’t matter. “End of the world” prophecies are ridiculous. We can’t rely on people, books, internet sites or movies to tell us an exact date because it is clearly something of the unknown? People are using prophets for profits

Hispanic American Diversity

1404 words - 6 pages the same interest for the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, it is the church that Mexican Americans base their opinions on sexual, education and politics. If Roman Catholicism is not the religion of preference, one will find Mexican Americans practicing Protestantism. As with the majority of Hispanics, Mexican Americans If Roman Catholicism is not the religion of preference, one will find Mexican Americans practicing Protestantism. As with


2333 words - 10 pages . SOCIOCULTURAL FORCES Cultural Aspects: The national culture of Guatemala reflects strong Mayan and Spanish influences. The Mayan culture has remained as one of the largest cultures because of the people’s knowledge on sciences and astrology. Native crafts in a variety of forms are represented in colorful hand-woven textiles and costumes unique to individual communities. Religion: The majority of the Guatemalan population is Catholic (50% to 60

For Millennia the Maya Lived in What Is Now the Lowlands of Guatemala

4859 words - 20 pages . Mayan Calendar 300 B.C. The Maya adopt the idea of a hierarchical society ruled by nobles and kings. 100 B.C. The city of Teotihuacan is founded and for centuries is the cultural, religious and trading center of Mesoamerica. 50 B.C. The Maya city of Cerros is built, with a complex of temples and ball courts. It is abandoned (for reasons unknown) a hundred years later and its people return to fishing and farming. Teotihuacan 100 A.D. The

Patriyotism Better Than Universal Brotherhood

2403 words - 10 pages Archives | Chakras | Consciousness | Dream Dictionary | Dream Interpretation | Essential Oils | Feng Shui | Flower Essences | God and Religion | Hinduism Archives | Karma | Kundalini | Kundalini Yoga | Life after death | Mayan Calendar | Meaning of Dreams | Meditation | Morphogenetic Fields | Numerology | Peace of Mind | Psychic Ability | Spiritual Awakening | Spiritual Healing | Spiritual Parenting

Popol Vuh

3143 words - 13 pages earth, created? Why do humans have flaws and commit sins? Many will try and side with whatever view fits their lifestyle, religion, or culture. Most likely if one was brought up to believe in many Gods, they will continue believing this for the rest of their life. Although there is no concrete way to know exactly how our creation came about, history has left us some creation myths which serve to point us in the right direction by hypothesizing the

"What Is Time?"

3778 words - 16 pages defining time. Language is tied to other cultural aspects as well, such as religion.I also found that in looking at different cultures that view time statically (cyclical) versus dynamically (linear) we can see how not only is language an element in the concept of time, but religion is as well."Ancient cultures such as Incan, Mayan, Hopi, and other Native American Tribes, plus the Babylonian, Ancient Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, and others have a

Wine - Historical Overview

4022 words - 17 pages . Print. Stanislawski, Dan. “Dionysus Westward: Early Religion and the Economic Geography of Wine.” Geographical Review 65.4 (1975): 427-443. Print. Van der Veen, Marijke. “When is Food a Luxury?” World Archaeology 34.3 (2003): 405-427. Print. ----------------------- [1] Parts of Oceania and North America did not use alcohol or ignored it until colonization by Westerners from the 1400’s to the 1700’s C.E. [2] For the purpose of clarity

Status of Prisoners of War in Islam

5860 words - 24 pages Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica more than a thousand years ago, prisoners of war were paraded before the king and his royal cohort and subjected to ritual humiliation and torture.  ISLAMIC PROSPECT OF POWS In pre-Islamic Arabia, upon capture, those captives not executed were made to beg for their subsistence. During the early reforms under Islam, Muhammad changed this custom and made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to

Global Warming and What You Can Do to Help

5755 words - 24 pages Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment. I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you "believe in." It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a nonevent, a

Related Essays

Music Of Latina America Essay

681 words - 3 pages .             The social context of Mayan music today references the culture of pre and post Encounter. The music of the Maya “is a function of the Maya belief system, in which the ancient Mayan religion has accommodated a considerable overlay of Christian beliefs, symbols, and practices” (Olsen & Sheehy, 2008, p. 226). For example, musical events tend to coincide with Roman Catholic festivals and the Mayan agricultural calendar, reflecting

Computer Generations Essay

1777 words - 8 pages carried small children on their backs. That left their hands free for cooking and weaving. Girls learned these skills from their mothers. They also learned to make pottery. Mayan boys learned farming and other trades from their fathers. Both boys and girls got married in the early or mid teens. Their parents chose a partner for them helped by a matchmaker. Mayan Religion The Mayans were polytheists (they worshipped many gods). The most

Meso America Essay

1105 words - 5 pages Civilization in the western hemisphere existed long before Christopher Columbus reached the Americas. The customs, language, and religion was different then the Europeans. The Aztecs were the ones who came in contact with the Europeans. Their history lasted from 1300-1521 CE. The Mayan society was from the year 200-900 CE. Hernan Cortes along with the Spanish army of five hundred, and thousands of Indian warriors declared war with the

Two Ancient Civilizations Essay

2678 words - 11 pages Abstract: The Parallel between Two Ancient Civilizations That Could Have Not Possibly Communicated During Their Existence. This abstract investigates the possibility as to how the ancient Egyptian and Mayan civilizations could have developed similar knowledge and discoveries on medicine. The method of analysis was to take in consideration the history of both civilizations and point out the parallel seen in their medical discoveries for example