Several million Maya practice a Catholicism that retains many elements of traditional Mayan religion.
Astronomy, divination, human sacrifice, elaborate burial for royalty, worship in stone pyramid-temples
Dresden Codex; Madrid Codex; Paris Codex; Books of Chilam Balam; Popol Vuh; The Ritual of the Bacabs
The Maya are a native Mesoamerican people who developed one of the most sophisticated cultures in the Western Hemisphere before the arrival of the Spanish. Mayan religion was characterized by the worship of nature gods (especially the gods of sun, rain and corn), a priestly class, the importance of astronomy and astrology, rituals of human sacrifice, and the building of elaborate pyramidical temples.
Some aspects of Mayan religion survive today among the Mayan Indians of Mexico and Central America, who practice a combination of traditional religion and Roman Catholicism. Mayan religion was the subject of much discussion leading up to December 21, 2012.
Maya Fast Facts
- Date founded:
- c.250 AD (rise of the Maya civilization)
- Place founded:
- Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize)
- At one time up to 2 million. Today, several million Maya practice a Roman Catholicism that retains many elements of traditional Mayan religion.
- Dresden, Madrid, and Paris codices; Books of Chilam Balam; Popol Vuh; The Ritual of the Bacabs
- Main gods:
- Itzamná; Kukulcán (Quetzalcóatl); Bolon Tzacab; Chac
- Astronomy, divination, human sacrifice, elaborate burial for royalty, worship in stone pyramid-temples