Mayan Religion

1274 Words 6 Pages
Looking at the history of humans, there is always a single connection which ties every part of the world—religion. Since the beginning of time, humans have theorized about the existence of a godly figure in an attempt to explain their own existence and purpose. The Mayan civilization, originating in the Yucatan area of Central America between 2600 and 1800 BC, did just the same. Known as one of the most technologically developed and advanced civilizations of their time, they owed much of their success and later failures to their religious beliefs.
The religious views of the Mayans revolved around the worship of many different gods, all of which were thought to have both good and bad sides, similar to the Greek gods. They punished humans when
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Many of their findings were applied to their rituals and used to serve the gods. Astronomy, which led to the 365-day calendar we use to this day, was due to the Mayans extensive belief and research in the stars and the universe, which they thought were creations of the gods. This knowledge of time assisted them in harvesting their crops and predicting cosmic activity. Also, it is significant that the priests were the ones who usually led most innovations, most likely because they were the most educated. However, because of this, most innovations usually had a religious purpose behind them as well. Additionally, the need to build pyramids, temples, and other religious structures to please the gods forced the Mayans to look for inventive and efficient ways to construct architecture, leading to the use of metals for tools as well as the wheel. The Mayans are even believed to have found a way to make rubber more durable and use its products. This process, called vulcanization, is said to have been discovered when the Mayans combined the rubber tree and the morning-glory plant during a religious ritual. Its result, a highly strong and durable material, led to its use in many different ways such as glue and in book bindings. The religious beliefs of the Mayans unknowingly helped their civilization immensely in the aspect of their intellectual pursuits, as their knowledge and rituals often led to …show more content…
Much of their written texts describe religious rituals and divination using a unique hieroglyphic language. One of the most famous texts of the Mayans is called the Popol Vuh, written in Quiche, one of the Mayan languages. It speaks of the origin of man, the actions of the gods, and the history of their people. Although not all of the art was solely on religion, much of its purpose was to please the gods. Religious chants were sung at rituals and intricate sculptures of the gods as well as the kings, who were seen as descendants of the gods, were created by artisans. Even much of the architecture was aimed to honor the gods, as the pyramids stair cased into the sky signifying steps towards the heavens. Every action of the Mayans was in their effort to honor and respect the gods, in the hopes of attaining a heavenly afterlife, and their artistic creations were no

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