Top 14 Fascinating Facts About The Mayans

Top 14 Fascinating Facts About The Mayans

2012 Winter Solstice in Belize

 

Often misunderstood for savages, the ancient Maya were a fascinating civilization. At the height of their empire, they had the five fundamentals aspects of culture: food, art, customs, language and religion. A few of their achievements are the creation of massive architectural wonders, extensive travel and trade routes, and usage of an advanced system of writing and mathematics.

 

Here are a few interesting facts about the ancient Maya:

 

1. The Maya would drastically enhance their features in search of beauty. They were known to flattening their forehead, sharpen their teeth pointy, create holes in their teeth and fill them with jade, and deliberately crossing their eyes.

2. The Maya loved getting high. According to mayanist Mark Van Stone, ingesting hallucinogenic drugs was an important part of many ancient American indigenous religious ceremonies. Interestingly enough, in preparation for rituals, one of the favorite ways the Maya got into trance was by licking the back of Cane toads (bufo marinus).

3. Branded as the three sisters; Maize, Beans and Squash were the most important foods. In addition to providing the essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy diet, rotating these crops allowed for the continuous productive use of lands.

4. They were expert traders. Based on supply and demand, traded items included foods such as corn, fish and chocolate, manufactured goods such as clothing, carvings and toys, and raw materials such as jade, gold and copper.

5. Practicing human sacrifice was a main aspect of Maya religion. It was usually done with prisoners of war and predominantly in times of trouble since it was considered to make the Gods happy.

6. The Maya rulers and priests acted as intermediaries to the Gods. They coaxed their followers by predicting weather patterns and claiming to speak to the Gods when eclipses occurred.

7. Mayan healers/ doctors were known as Shamans. They used a wide assortment of medicinal plants as remedies. Many of the plants used by them are still used presently to heal illnesses.

Ixchel, Maya goddess of medicine and fertility

Ixchel, Maya goddess of medicine and fertility

8. They played a game of life and death known as the Mesoamerican ball game. It is also called the Maya ball game or Pitz.

9. They had saunas. These sweat baths, also known as “temezcal” were an important purification element for priests and rulers.

10. The Maya practiced advance writing and mathematics. The Maya writing system consisted of sophisticated hieroglyphs which were etched onto stone slabs called Stelae, painted as murals on monumental buildings or drawn on books made of tree bark. Maya mathematics used a base 20 system identified as vegesimal – the symbol of a shell corresponded to zero, a dot represented a one and a bar stood for a five. (Learn moremichielb.nl/maya/math.html)

11. The Maya were excellent astronomers and created their own calendars. The Tzolkin consisted of 260 days was used to track religious and ceremonial events. The Haab was the annual solar calendar consisting of 365 days and is the most similar to our modern day calendar.

12. Caves were considered the entrance to the underworld – Xibalba. Particularly during epochs of peril, the Maya would journey deep inside caves and perform rituals and sacrifices hoping that the death gods would bring better times. Ceremonies inside caves are still presently done by some modern Maya of the Yucatan.

skeleton in belize's atm cave

Skeletal remains found in a cave

13. The Ceiba tree, known as Yaaxché in Mayan, is the sacred tree of life. In ancient Maya mythology, by means of the Ceiba’s branches and trunk, the heavens and the underworld were connected.

14. The exact reason for the collapse of the ancient Maya is uncertain. However, the most widely accepted thought is self induced ecological disaster. They consumed their natural environment and when the droughts came and their Gods didn’t bring rain, the people abandoned the big cities.

 

So what is your take on the Maya?

Source: Belizeadventure.ca

Top Places to Stay in Belize






Belize Tour Companies and Travel Agents

Belize Real Estate Opportunities






June 29, 2018

How the Belize Barrier Reef Beat the Endangered List

An oil drilling moratorium, development restrictions and fishing reform has helped the 200-mile-reef come off Unesco’s endangered world heritage sites...
Read More
June 26, 2018

What the New Alaia Belize Will Look Like

The newest addition to Belize’s fast-growing hotel pipeline is on track for 2020, and now we’ve gotten the exclusive first...
Read More
June 26, 2018

Saving the underwater wonder world of Belize’s reef

Just a stone’s throw off the coast of Belize, brightly colored tropical fish mingle with sharks, manta rays and sea...
Read More
June 26, 2018

RCL Exclusive Your Off-the-Grid Guide to Belize

Belize is the tropical vacation version of a perfect meal. Light appetizer, indulgent main course, decadent dessert and booze …...
Read More
June 17, 2018

Latham: Hard work must be the national symbol of Belize

BELIZE CITY, Belize — Belize is tiny for a country — about the land size of Maryland — but it...
Read More
June 17, 2018

7 Ambergris Caye Restaurants Secret Special Request Options

Once you have lived on Ambergris Caye awhile, you get to know which restaurants have off-menu special request options. Read...
Read More
June 12, 2018

Please Belize Me: Ten Reasons to Put Ambergris Caye on Travel List

After a year of procrastination and poor planning, Belize finally made it on my to do list in 2018. Read...
Read More
June 12, 2018

Autograph Collection Hotels Set to Debut in Belize with the Opening of Alaia

Autograph Collection Hotels, in partnership with owner and developer Andrew Ashcroft, today announced the brand will debut in Belize with the...
Read More
June 12, 2018

5 Reasons to Vacation in Belize this Summer

Summer is the busiest season for travel to Europe. That’s where most vacationers are headed during the months of June,...
Read More
1 2 3 19

Comments

comments

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Login

Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Don't have account. Register

Lost Password

Register

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Banner-1