Belize Team Wins at Ancient Maya Ball Game at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Ancient Maya Ball Game

Ancient Maya Ball Game

Ancient Maya Ball Game

The Belize Ulamaztli team returned home victorious after participating in the 2017 Mesoamerican Ball Game Tournament in Teotihuacán, Mexico. This tournament included 10 teams from Mexico and the winning team from Belize.

A Grand Mayan Tradition

Ulamaztli, often called Ulama, is an ancient game that was first played by the Maya. Similar to what many people call soccer today, this game only allows the player to use their hips to maneuver the ball around the field. The solid rubber ball weighs 4.4 pounds and the object of the game is to keep the ball in play by your team using only your hips.

This tournament was a celebration of the ancient game as well as the Maya culture. Players donned authentic clothing and accessories when playing in the tournament to match those worn by the ancient civilization. The tournament sponsor believes that this is one of the best ways to teach younger generations about their heritage and culture.

Belize Is Home To Many Maya Descendants

Belize is home to three distinct groups of Maya descendants. Each of these groups can trace their heritage back to the original Mayan people of Belize. Although they speak different dialects of the ancient language, many of their customs and traditions reflect those of the early Maya people.

The three tribes are divided into the Yucatac, Kekchi and Mopan. The Kekchi and Mopan are most numerous. Each group are very similar in appearance. Their skin tones are different than others living in Belize and they have very beautiful straight black hair. Each group continues to show pride in their heritage by continuing many ancient customs, including playing Ulama.

The Maya people are believed to have vanished around 800 years ago. Their thriving civilization came to an abrupt stop and their beautiful cities and farmlands were abandoned. Different theories have attributed to this mystery, but there is no absolute reason for their disappearance.

The jungle areas of Belize, however, gave shelter to some of the Maya people during this period of time and their descendants still live in this area. Belize is filled with magnificent stone cities, temples, and pyramids all attributed to the Maya. Belize is often considered the heartland of their civilization.

The Pok Ta Pok Maya Team came from Orange Walk, Belize. This area of Belize is associated with the tribe of Yucatac Maya, the smallest of the three remaining Maya tribes. Winning this tournament brought great pride to the Maya people as well as the rest of the people of Belize.

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