Approach to its Cultures and Ethnic Groups
A Social Sciences Essay in 6 Sections
By Darío Morán

It is impressive to watch nowadays a Chuch Ajau or an Ajkij ( Maya Religious Guides in their hierarchy) pointing to the four sacred directions, the four cardinal points, calling the energy waves of gods, deities and animal protector spirits.

Sacred directions represented by colored candles : white for the north, yellow for the south, from a mytic city or existed? where the first corn cobs were brought to the highlands, red for the east as a memory to their Sun god Kinich Ahau the one who also provides life to everything in the universe, black for the west the color of darkness and death but under a different significance than ours and the center of the circular altar is green, repesenting Mother Nature, the essence of all energies which emerge from down to the upper levels of existence and connect with heaven.

Mayan spiritual guides also preform this ceremony to bless couples´marriages and also they bless ¨when protection for their plantations is asked by farmers.

Other elements used for their ceremonies are : pine needles,flowers, plants and frut, sacred incenses like copal made from the resin of the copalero tree growing in El Petén and in some regions of México, the estoraque made from resin of conifer trees, sacred stones and idols, sugar substituting bee honey and liquour to drink and to pour on the altar reminding old water rituals.

Festivities are unique, evertything is blessed : the Marimba, a wooden xylophone, our national musical instrument, the masks to be used in ancient dances like the one of the snake, the deer and the jaguar or the Rabinal Achí an ethnic drama dance which was declared four years ago by UNESCO intangible cultural patrimony of humankind, this old dance is performed in the department of Baja Verapaz, in the north.

Blessings are also poured as handfuls of energies to the Catholic saints´ statues in the churches, Mayan idols,people at different ages,the mountains, the flowers, the plants, the trees and domestic animals.
The ceremonies are performed on top of the mountains in isolated ancient shrines, inside Catholic churches as well as in altars in actual archaeological sites, formerly important cities like Tikal, Kaminal Juyú, Iximché and other, there will be modern built altars in every site very soon although Maya have the right to practice their religion in the original ceremonial plazas.
Human sacrifices have been replaced by chicken or sheep sacrifices. Watching a Maya ceremony is really absorve their cosmovision and feeling the charged energies flooding around.

By DarioMoran

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