Maya Culture

The Maya culture was one of the most brilliant and powerful cultures of Mesoamerica civilization spanned a period of over three thousand years.

The Maya people

The Maya people have inhabited for thousands of years the Yucatan Peninsula, the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.


There are many fields in which the stressed culture: pottery, writing, precise calendar, medicine, astronomy and mathematics. Also built impressive and surprising buildings.

Your cities grew much but at one point in its history something unknown, push them to abandon their cities and around 900 the Maya civilization of the southern lands had collapsed.

Theories about what might happen are many, among them are:

  • Many people think that the resources around major cities were sold out and people had to find other places to live.
  • Other reviewers who were constant wars between the cities so I just destroy the existing model life.
  • Also there were saying that climate, tremendous and long periods of drought changes, which forced them to leave the cities.

In the area of ​​the Yucatan Peninsula continued to flourish some large cities, but the fact is that when the Spaniards arrived most of the Maya lived in small villages and large cities had been buried by the jungle.

Writing in Maya culture

Writing was very important for the development of culture. The writing system used by the Maya is regarded as the most sophisticated developed in Mesoamerica.

800 signs used in combining columns that read together from left to right and top to bottom. He wrote of stone and wood and used within architecture, signs on pottery and paper were also painted.

Unfortunately many of the books of the Maya culture could not survive the environmental conditions of the area and the vast majority were destroyed by the invaders who saw these strange signs were the work of the devil.

Fortunately four great codices survived:

  • The Dresden Codex.
  • The Paris Codex.
  • The Codex of Madrid.

The importance of time in culture

Time tracking is an essential part of the Mayan culture. The Maya had a complex and intricate candelario, the fact is that they used two calendars simultaneously:

  • The Haab or civil calendar of 365 days divided into 18 months of 20 days duration each
  • The tzolkin or sacred calendar of 260 days.

The sacred calendar was used to determine all important activities related to the gods or humans. It was used to predict the future, decide the best date for battles, to name a person, decide the date for wedding, etc..

The calendar of 365 days had to do with the seasons and agriculture, and was based on the solar cycle.

Both calendars coincided every 52 years.

Astronomy was very important in the Mayan culture and extensive knowledge led them to very accurately calculate the length of the solar year:

  • In the year 2500 BC. calculated as 365.24249 days.
  • In the year 1000 AD as calculated 365.2421954 days.
  • Currently, NASA estimates it at 365.242128 days.

It is noteworthy that NASA uses an atomic clock and the culture of their codices.
This is an indicator not only of their astronomical knowledge, and also their progress in mathematics.

The Maya Today

The Mayan culture was alive for millennium and fortunately still alive today.

Currently there are about six million Maya divided between Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Different groups within this community have a language belonging to the Mayan language family.

As we see the culture did not vanish because the modern Maya still keep alive the traditions of their ancestors.

The Mayans are fighting to preserve their land and to continue living by keeping their traditions and customs. Most households are engaged Maya, like their ancestors, agriculture and trade but many people have to leave their villages to work part of the year in the cotton and coffee.

Despite all the difficulties they face is a village that is struggling to move forward.


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