The Maya

Mythology and Religion


What examples of Mayan mythology can you give me? How did this myth impact the way the Mayans acted?

Primary Source

The oldest written myths date all the way back to the 16th century and are found in historical sources from the Guatemalan Highlands. The most important of these myths is the Popol Vuh or 'Book of the Council' which contains Quichean stories and some of the adventures of Hunahpu and Xbalanque, also known as The Hero Twins. There are some extremely old pieces of history left out there somewhere, and this is tangible evidence that we have of the past, and of the beliefs of the ancient Mayans. These myths are in fact the ones that the Mayan read because it was found by archeologists in Maya, and is something is tangible, we can read, touch, hold, and feel it ourselves.


Secondary Source

One example of mythology is that one god was said to have caused a great flood to come when the Maya angered the gods. This god is, Bolon Tzacab he is also known as Huracan (much like the English word “Hurricane”) His name means “one leg.” This god apparently thought that no one should ever disrespect the gods, or else they will experience a hard time. It is not known whether or not it really did rain when the Maya thought they angered the gods or not.

Citation: Ken, Nelson. " History for kids." Ducksters. N.d. Web. 8 Aug. 2015

More secondary sources

In Mayan mythology, the gods and heroes had many different names, stories occurred in many different forms, and scenes and figures changed often making it confusing. Beneath this confusion, though, lay a sense that the universe is an orderly place and that proper behavior and appreciation toward the gods played an important role in maintaining its harmony. The Mayan read certain myths that made them think that if they didn’t show their appreciation for the gods, then the gods would punish them. They believed that the gods created man, therefore creating them and that they should be grateful of the gods.