Mayan rituals the cycle of life

    The Mayan Culture developed under the influence of customs and religious worship, this being a political instrument, a weapon that allowed the superior castes to dominate a society. The social structure was based on a central idea of ​​the existence of a universal order, immutable and unchangeable, that nothing and no one could modify.

They believed that the gods had limited power to momentarily influence the course of the Universe, because they could not modify a cosmic order that was above them. The Mayan divinities were characterized by their duality, so that depending on the circumstances they could be good or bad, young or old, and male or female.

It is known that they carried out human sacrifices to obtain the favor of the gods through rituals and ceremonies, but they also carried out activities that directly or indirectly contributed to maintaining social order with the construction of monuments, funerary rites in honor of the rulers deceased, distribution of goods, political acts and the cycle of life.

One of the most famous rituals of the Mayan world is “the Ball Game”, which was practiced by two teams of players on a long court. Do you know the meaning of this competition?

For the Mayans according to their sacred book, the Pophl Vu, the heroic twins called Hunahpu and Xbalanque played against the Lords of Death of the underworld. In fact, it represents a fight between good and evil, and the ball in perpetual motion represents the movement of the stars and the forces of creation.

Among other purposes of the game was to calm tensions or resolve conflicts without resorting to war, allowing disputes to be resolved on a playing field instead of a battlefield. Apparently lawsuits could be settled over land, taxes and commercial contracts.

At present, in the Maya kruuso’ob community of Tuzik, Quintana Roo, rituals related to the course of the life cycle are performed. In particular, the first pregnancy and childbirth, baptism, hetzmek, marriage and death are considered. These ceremonies are seen as rites of passage and a process of socialization.

“The Ritual of Pregnancy”

       The first pregnancy and childbirth represent a unique moment for a woman, at this stage she lives a series of ritualized moments, the first is with the announcement of the pregnancy (separation rite) and the other of liminity, the waiting time (rite of separation). margin). In Tuzik, when a woman finds out that she is pregnant, the first to tell her the news is her mother.

Due to the fact of being pregnant, she is temporarily excluded from a part of society in general, since she is in a state that is only shared with other women in her situation. From the fourth or fifth month onwards, the midwife performs abdominal massages on the woman in order to ensure that the embryo is always kept in a normal position. When it is not possible to go to the midwife, the j-menes or healers are used.

After 7 months, the woman stops carrying out “hard” activities, and it is the mother of the pregnant woman or her sisters who carry them out, and she goes from the period of separation to that of liminity or uncertainty because she does not know what fate holds for her : if the child will be born alive or if the mother will lose her life during childbirth. This margin stage does not end with the birth of the child, but continues until the mother’s reintegration into normal life.

With childbirth, the woman is reintegrated into society, with a new status, different from the one she previously had (rites of aggregation), this acquired status will always remain in the new mother, regardless of whether or not a second pregnancy occurs.

Childbirth ritual

The midwife is the one who receives the newborn and the baby has two fingers of umbilical cord measured and there a strong ligation is made with cotton thread and immediately the cord is cut with the sharp edge of a piece of cane. The use of this instrument is necessary due to the belief that mother and child should avoid contact with “cold” things such as knives and scissors, as they are dangerous to their health, according to their beliefs. The umbilical cord will later be burned in the hearth as well as the placenta. With the cutting and burning of the umbilical cord, the separation between the child and the mother is symbolized.

    The Mayan rites concentrate mysticism and great strength that allows you to connect with the deepest roots.

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