The Mayan civilization is one which has fascinated generations of people all over the world past the last several decades. There so many hidden layers and complexities in their culture that even today experts are trying to decipher them out.
Here, we have listen seven remarkable facts about the Mayans that will leave you amazed.
Ritual Sacrifice: Ritual sacrifices were an inherent part of the Mayan culture. In several festivals and ceremonies, animal and human sacrifices were pretty common and were even attended by revered priests. These sacrifices were pretty savage and were also done for medical reasons many a time. However, what is shocking is that the Mayans still practice blood sacrifice; although chicken has now replaced human blood.
Drugs that caused hallucinations: We are all well aware of how passionate the Mayans were about their rituals. However, a little known fact related to this is that they made Hallucinogenic Drugs to effect a trance-like state during the performances in these rituals. They believed that taking these Hallucinogenic Drugs would enable them to perform better and help them connect with the spiritual world.
Had built ball courts to play games: Surprising as it may sound, Mayans were extremely fond of playing various games; especially those involving balls. They made massive ball courts for a variety of activities, most prominent of which, of course, was playing ball. The ballgame that the Mayans adored playing was called pitz and was played with a ball roughly the size of a volleyball; though it was made from rubber and was much heavier than an average volleyball.
What’s astonishing though is that these games were not just played merely as a sport; they were part of serious rituals and the losing players would be shockingly sacrificed, as has been depicted in several Mayan murals.
Desired weird features for children: The Mayans had a very weird desire when it came to the appearance of their children; wanting some unnatural characteristics for them. Using boards, they – especially the upper class Mayans – used to press against the children’s foreheads to flatten them. Another equally absurd practice they followed was to make their babies cross eyed. For this, they dangled different objects in front of the babies’ eyes until they would become permanently cross eyed. The reason for this truly bizarre practice is yet to be known.
Their medicines were quite advanced: Mayans made medicines which were extremely useful and way ahead of their times. Their medicines helped in stitching up wounds by using human hair and also helped in repairing fractures and making dental prostheses. Apart from this, their knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants was supreme and they used it in treating various skin and mouth infections.
Treating of the slaves: The Mayan slaves were forced to lead a pretty cruel life. In spite of doing all the hard labour and menial work for their owners throughout their lives unflinchingly, they were never appreciated for it. In fact, shockingly, far from being acknowledged, the Mayan slaves were sacrificed when their owners died. The logic for this was that the slaves would then continue to serve their owners even in the afterlife.
Mystery of the collapse of Mayan culture: Not many would know this, but there are several Mayans who still exist. They continue to live in their home regions and are still known to follow their culture passionately. However, one of the greatest mysteries of humankind is the downfall of the vast Mayan culture. Nobody really knows how exactly it came about. Before the Spanish came there, countless Mayan cities had already been abandoned and were almost ruined. Experts have come out with several reasons for their collapse: social turmoil, collapse of trade routes, epidemic diseases, climate change, overpopulation, famine and drought. However, nothing concrete has ever come to light and the fall of the Mayan civilization still remains an everlasting mystery.