Ancient Mayan Religion And Thier Culture
Like many ancient people Religion was an integral part of Mayan life. The culture of the Mayan people was so rich, colorful, and diverse that scholars still don't clearly understand everything these people thought and believed. Though these people left behind many records to help scholars learn about this ancient people there are gaps in some of these records and writings that have yet be filled in. Much of what is known about this ancient group of people has been garnered through pottery, writings, art and calendars these people have left behind. This culture is much like a puzzle that scholars are painstakingly putting together with each new piece adding a new depth and perception to these people's actions, belief's and daily life.
The Ancient Mayan's believed that the universe was divided into two worlds the physical world in which they lived and the Other World inhabited by gods. These gods provided and cared for the Mayan people and when they deemed it necessary punished them. In return the Mayan people worshiped these gods through human sacrifice and prayer.
Mayans worshiped nature gods and believed that these gods made Mayans from Maize (corn) and water. For this reason corn held a very special significance in the lives of these people. While they worshiped many gods such as the God of The sun, God of the Moon, God of Rain, and others it was to the Corn God that they owed their substance and so they considered corn and other growing food as true gifts from the gods.
In return for these many gifts the Mayan priests would demand human sacrifice so that human blood could be let to pacify the gods in hopes of a good harvest. Festivals included music, dances, and prayers. Purification ceremonies included fasting, sexual abstinence, and blood letting in which priests and leaders of the Mayan community would cut themselves with sharp objects and the blood would be collected on a type of paper and burned. Scholars know a lot about the Ancient Mayan Religion due to the hieroglyphics, drawings, and calendars they left behind detailing their everyday life and their belief.
Because the harvest was an important part of the Mayan Religion and culture they became avid astronomers or more correctly astrologers predicting the seasons and recording observations they saw in the sky and trying to divine the meanings of anything different or strange they witnessed. Calendars played a huge role in their religious beliefs with the 260 day divinity cycle being central to their beliefs.
Traditional Mayan belief held that individuals had many souls and the loss of one or more souls was the reason for different diseases. Therefore healing rituals played huge part in the Mayan culture and religious beliefs. They also believed in both paradise and the underworld and that their ancestors (grandfathers and grandmothers) were always with them.
Learning about the Mayans and their Religion gives mankind a picture of a very complex and ancient civilization that sometimes seem to dwell in child like superstition and in others seem to be light years ahead of their time.
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