Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Quetzalcoatl's Pyramid pic
Monday, May 23, 2005
The Mayan customs were a huge part of the Mayan culture because they were very set on their beliefs. When a member of one's family died they were buried in simple graves just under their houses. The wealthy people were buried in tombs accompanied with some of their belongings such as their jewelry, pottery, or food. In the Mayan culture it was common for there to be ancestor worship especially to the royal, thought to rejoin the Gods when they died. Another common custom was human sacrifices to the Gods. One way of doing this was by ripping out their hearts and leaving them there for offering to the Gods, or by throwing them down a cliff. They used humans as their sacrifices because it was believed that the Gods needed human blood to grow stronger. Yet another custom that was practiced sometimes was self-torture; on more dedicated levels one would practice self-torture daily. Sometimes, on very big festivals for religious reasons they would have dances when they dressed up with masks to look like Gods. Some of the dances were done to insure the success of crops though. These are just a few of the Mayan customs out of the hundreds of small and big customs that they practiced while they were still living.
Other Interesting Facts
The Mayans were full of interesting facts from their ways of speech to their cropping skills. Much was lost when there was the collapse of the Mayan civilization in AD 822. Here are some of the facts still known today through our technology and recent studies on the Mayan civilization.
Family: Mayan families all lived together- the parents, children, grandparents, and even great grandparents. When they were on their farms with the family, the men and older boys did most of the farm work including cropping, hunting, and fishing. The women and older girls did most of the "inside" work such as making clothes, preparing food, raising the children, getting firewood, and water.
Food: A lot of what they ate was corn; in fact, they even had a God that was the "God of Corn". The corn was prepared in a variety of ways. They also raised chiefly beans, corn, squash, avocado, chili peppers, sweet potatoes, turkey, and honeybees for food. When the men went out to hunt they hunted deer, rabbits, pig-like animals called "peccaries", and other wild animals.
Clothing: Men wore a loincloth-a strip of cloth around their hips and through their legs-daily. Women wore loose dresses that went down to their ankles, perfect for the hot weather. These clothing were hand woven from cotton and other fibers similar to cotton. If the family were wealthy then they would wear more extravagant clothing with ornaments and embroidery on their clothes, beautiful headdresses, and wore much jewelry carved out of green jade and colorful shells. In addition, it was considered beautiful to have a flat forehead and have their eyes close together.
Games: One major game that they played was a ball game where they were rewarded with fine jewelry including a necklace made out of jade beads. Though if you lost they would tie them up and sent to the main castle, be decapitated by the high priest, and then rolled down the long steps to the plazas floor below. This is how you played the game:
o Players took their places on the opposite ends of the court
o The ball was made of pure tree sap
o They couldn’t use their hands or feet/ only shoulders
o To win they had to hit the ball through the ring on the side wall vertically
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Mayan Natural Resources
Many of the natural resources were the crops that the Mayans grew. Maize was the most important crop, alongside with beans, squash, tomatoes, chili peppers, cacao (chocolate), and avocados. For tools, they used bone, and many rocks like obsidian and basalt. Wood was another useful resource, and they used it for bows, handles, and levers. For jewelry, they used jade, other dark green stones, and also bone. For temples and other structures they used limestone. Later on they used copper for fishing hooks.
Religion was very important for the Mayans. The Mayans had many religious festivals honoring many gods, and sometimes heroes of Mayan Culture. Their gods symbolize everything from weather, harvest, birth, death, and war. The temples were large stone paramids, stacked like giant steps. The temples were dedicated to either one or a few gods. The Mayans also had pilgrimage spots much like Middle Ages Europe. Some spots were Izamel and Cozumel. A common thing in Mayan religion is that priests would take on the name of a god in honor of that diety. Some famous heroes who took on names of gods are Itzamn and Kukulcan. One important thing about Mayan religion is the relative mildness of the religion. The sacrifices were rare untill the end of the classical age. In fact, after the classical age the civilization slowly fell.
Gods and Goddesses:
Itzamn- The ruler god. No gods were really considered the ruler god, but Itzamn was sometimes thought as a ruler god.
Quetzalcoatl- God of peace. Took shape as a feathered serpent, but appeared to man as a white bearded man.
Chac- God of rain.
Kukulcan- Wind God. A priest once took the same name, and became a hero.
Kinich Ahau- God of the Sun.
Yaxche- the tree of the Heavens.
Xibalba- The Underworld.
Yum Cimil- God of Death, and Ruler of the Underworld.
The Mayans had three areas in which they lived. The Southern area, or highlands, was rocky and dry with a mountain range that had active volcanoes along it. Other areas had long rainy seasons and deep fertile soils which made that area good for farming. The Northern and Central areas had dense tropical forests, dry grass, and cacti therefore it was not used for farming.
In the Mayan culture, there are about 30 known different languages still spoke today by some. The top two languages are Yucatecan and Cholan. No city has the same language as another. The Yucatecan language has a few main branches:Yucatec, Itza, Mopan, and Lacadon. The Cholan has Chol, Chontal, Chorti, Cholti. Another language with some importance is the Tzetalan language. The Mayans mostly wrote in heiroglyphs, which historians believe they were written in Cholan rather than Yucatecan. We can not prove it for none of these languages are spoken or written today.
Mayan Daily Life
The Mayans mainly focused on farming, and mostly men did it. They farmed beans, squash, tomatoes, chili peppers, carao (chocolate), avacado, and last but certainly not least, Maize (corn). Maize was the Mayans most important crop. Mayans also used plants, herbs and such, for healing people from illnesses.
There were many materials used in the time of the Mayans. They used chert and obsidian to create tools. They used bone to create needles and fishing hooks. Wood was also used for many things. They used it for making handles for things, levers, and bows for hunting and warriors. Later on in the 1200's they used copper for tweezers and fishing hooks. Besides chert and obsidian, basalt was used for scrapers, chisels, axes, and grinding stones.
For decoration, beads and dresses, they used bone, jade, oystershells, and any other dark green stone they can find. Usually the girls would make the clothing and jewels, along with other chores such as bringing in wood and water. They would make sculptures and necklaces out of these rescources. They also wove baskets and clothing. They would use natural dye from indigo plants (which produced blue) and the chochineal (a bug) which would make red.