Posted October 11, 2009on:
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization which was established during the Preclassic period. Many Maya cities reached their highest state development during the Classic period and continued until the spanish arrival. It was one of the most populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. You can notice that the Maya influence can be detected from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and part of Mexico.
The Mayas designed the “Calendar”, which uses exactly 365 days. Their neighbors independently developed the concept of “Zero” by 36 BC. The Mayas had a different type of numerical system, they used the base 20. They believed in a cyclical nature of time. The rituals and ceremonies were very closely associated with celestial and terrestrial cycles which they observed and inscribed as separate calendars. They also had to determine if the “heavens” were appropriate for performing certain religious ceremonies.
The Maya practiced human sacrifice. In many Maya rituals people were killed by having their arms and legs held while a priest cut the person’s chest open and tore out his heart as an offering. It is believed that children were often offered as sacrificial victims because they were believed to be pure.
Much of the Maya religious tradition is still not understood, but it is known that the Maya believed that the cosmos has three major planes, the underworld, the sky, and the Earth.