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Estudios de cultura maya

versión impresa ISSN 0185-2574


VAIL, Gabrielle  y  LOOPER, Matthew G.. World Renewal Rituals among the Postclassic Yucatec Maya and Contemporary Ch'orti' Maya. Estud. cult. maya [online]. 2015, vol.45, pp.121-140. ISSN 0185-2574.

Archaeological, epigraphic, and ethnohistoric studies indicate that world renewal rituals were an important feature of prehispanic Maya society and continue to play a seminal role in indigenous communities throughout the Maya area today. Our discussion examines two examples of the multitude of such rituals that were performed to recreate the world by replicating the actions undertaken by the primordial deities at the beginning of the present creation. The first involves ceremonies performed by the Yucatec Maya during the Postclassic period (13th through 15th centuries) to ritually terminate the old year and begin anew by establishing a "tree" to mark the trees set up in the four quadrants at the creation of the present world, as documented in the prehispanic Maya codices and the colonial period Books of Chilam Balam, written by indigenous scribes in the alphabetic script introduced by the Spanish friars in the 16th century. The second involves Ch'orti' speakers living in southern Guatemala today, who perform similar rituals that involve a series of ceremonies undertaken over the course of the rainy season to ensure agricultural fertility. Both ritual complexes involve foundation events, acts of sacrifice, petitions to the rain and earth deities, and an emphasis on sacred watery places.

Palabras llave : Yucatec Maya; Ch'orti' Maya; yearbearer rituals; agricultural rituals; world renewal ceremonies.

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