MAYAN CULTURE» Customs and Traditions.

MAYAN CULTURE» Customs and Traditions.

MAYAN CULTURE» Customs and Traditions.

The Mayan culture was developed where the current Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, Quinta Roo and Chiapas are located.
As Well as throughout the current territory of Belize, Guatemala, a part of Honduras and El Salvador.
From there, this civilization made by this vast area, the regional and local developments that shaped the Mayan culture.

The Mayas share many characteristics with other Mesoamerican cultures, due to their high degree of interaction and regional diffusion.

What is Mayan culture?

The so-called Mayan world is in fact a conglomerate of peoples, which constitute together such a diverse unity;

The peculiarities that unite them like the language, the way to understand the world and even its territory;

Although advances in writing in metal or stone, were not Mayan inventions, were developed by them.
Many of the external influences of the art and architecture of the Mayan culture, resulted from the exchange with other Mesoamerican civilizations.

Life depended entirely on the changes of season, the Sun, the rain, the sowing, and the harvesting of the crops.

Agriculture became the basis of the Mayan culture’s livelihood, but it was the religion that provided the main stimulus for its emergence.

Social Organization of the Mayan culture.

The Social stratification of the Mayan culture was based on a system of castes determined by the lineage closest to the founder.
Thus a first-born son of the creator occupied a high position, and could only marry another person of the same stratum.

The social castes were composed of kings-gods, priests, warriors, traders, artisans and peasants.

And The farmers possessed the status of nobles, were warriors and obliged to build temples and deliver offerings to the gods.
The slaves or Pentacoob were prisoners of war, excluded from the kinship system, but contradictoryly, their children inherited their condition.

With the passage of time, the rapid development of secondary castes jeopardized this traditional Mayan social order.

Political Organization of the Mayan culture.


Maya was characterized by handling myths that were exploited by their rulers.
Because of this divine character, the leaders required to maintain a nexus with the spiritual world through different rites.

The rulers who possessed a direct lineage with the founders were seen as true living gods called Halach Uinic.
The Halach Uinic held the political, economic, judicial and military command of a city-state, and its position was hereditary.
He Was advised by the Great Council.

Which members formed the Great Council?

Bataboob or local chiefs: appointed by the Halach Uinic to administer their localities and to do justice.

Ah Cuch Caboobaf.

The heads of the wards had under their charge the heads of lineage, called Ah Holpopoob.


The highest priest: he possessed great importance within the economic life;
Due to his knowledge of the seasons and the movement of the stars, he wrote the sacred books and organized the temples.

The Mayan Political unit was constituted by several independent city-states, in which lived the ruling dynasty, the noble ones;
An indeterminate number of subordinates with intellectual occupations.

While There were no permanent armies, war played an important role in religion, power and prestige.

The economy in the Mayan culture.

At The economic level, the Mayan culture managed to integrate an immense territory into a trade network.

The main activity of production was agriculture, which also governed the principle of the lineage, in terms of the ownership of the land.
Therefore the land belonged to the Halach Uinic, who distributed it according to the need of each family.
Likewise, the peasant had to give part of the harvest to the Halach Uinic to contribute with his family and the government.

Faced With This, the ruler’s relatives assured the peasant, food and clothing in times of crisis and the rites necessary to attract rain and harvest.



Another activity of the Mayan culture was the commercial exchange with Teotihuacán and Mesoamerica.
From there, products such as jade, salt, quetzal feathers were imported, and handcrafted pieces, cocoa, cotton, and rubber were exported.
In the same way, the trade was controlled by the Halach Uinic, and exerted by its hereditary breed of traders.

One of the factors that favored the trade in the Mayan world was the system of connection of rivers that come down from the Guatemalan highlands, offering an advantage in the transport of the merchandise.

The boom in trade originated a cocoa-centered monetary system, and then copper hatchets.

In this sense, with a gram of cocoa was bought a tomato or a thousand was acquired a slave.

Mayan Numerals.

The Mayas created a numerical system that allowed them to organize one of the most perfect calendars in the history of mankind, and the closest to the currently used.

Religion in the Mayan culture.

Religion in Maya civilization constituted a political element that allowed the upper class to dominate the peasants.

Both the social and political structure were supported by the belief of existence a universal order, immutable and unchangeable.
Under This premise justified the absolute authority of the Halach Uinic, as a living God capable of preserving the dynasty of the lineage.

The Soul of this civilization was the theological theme, given that the gods could influence their power in the events of the universe.
In The Mayan culture the most important gods are the creators, who tried to create man on three occasions.

The first, they tried to create the man with mud and failed: Hurakán, Kukulkan and Tepeu.

Then Other gods also tried to create the man with wood, without being able to give him soul.

Alom, Bitol, Kukulkan, Hurakán, Tepeu, Qaholom and Tzacol.

Finally the gods who managed to create the man using corn:
Xlitan, Ajtzak, Akai, Bitol, Chirakata-Ixminasune, Kukulkan, Hunahpu-Gutch, Ixmucane.

The Mayan Civilization presents other supernatural entities that come into contact with human beings.

In Addition to these deities arise those that relate to their inhabitants, providing their assistance in exchange for their worship and devotion.

Among them are:

The ancestors.

Manifesting the connection between earthly life and the afterlife to help their descendants.

The heroes.

Individuals who performed great feats in life, flaunting a status of semi-gods, such as Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

And Finally, animal spirits, divine souls depicted in animal form;
That by acting as counselors, healers and messengers, they grant the help of supernatural origin to humans.


The Mayan paintings reflected to a great extent, the vision that they had of the universe.
In each of his works, they showed their beliefs, rites, astrology and even their daily lives.
On the one hand they showed their interest in the environment and nature; And on the other, the art of geometric figures.

The sculptures.

Mayan sculptures differed by their regional styles.
The Central Area leaned more towards the individual representation of important characters or rulers;
While north, the main sculpted motifs were essentially religious.

Scriptures that narrate the Mayan mythology.

There Are Two fundamental books that contain stories concerning various daily or historical events of this evolved Mesoamerican culture.

The Popol Vuh.

Known as the Book of the Council, an indigenous manuscript containing numerous narratives describing the nature, norms, religion and relations of the Mayan people.

The Books of Chilam Balam.

A series of tomes that gather anecdotes and historical facts of the Mayan civilization.

The legacy of the Mayan culture.

It can be concluded that few people have developed a culture as abstract and intellectual as the inhabitants of the forests of El Petén.

Among its many legacies where monuments, palaces, temples, pyramids stand out, are also found.

Arithmetic or Mayan numbers.

Which was the consequence of the need to account for astronomical studies regulating the agricultural cycle.
This vigesimal numbering included the use of zero long before the Arabic count appeared.

The Mayan Calendar.

Two types were handled, the ritual or Tzolkin and the solar or Haab, the latter with the same number of days as the Gregorian.

The Mayan Scripture.MAYAN CULTURE

Composed of more than 700 signs that appear in stones, codices and some ceramic containers.

The false Vault.

Built by approximation with huge inclined slabs.
The Mayan symbols.
And The Gilfos who managed, helped to understand the singularity of each day.
process and evolution of life, was linked to the human being and the universe in one.

The dress.

use of Mayan clothing was distinguished by sex, social hierarchy and utilitarian character.
This ERA was designed only to cover the body and were held by belts made of fabric, or simply protected the intimate parts.


They Had a religious meaning.
Mayan masks were used as a form of closeness between the indigenous and the different deities they worshipped. Union between God and human consciousness.

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