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Friday, September 30, 2011

Fascinating Facts About The Mayans

The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Many misconceptions about the mayans exist, and this list should put an end to at least one or two of them. In addition, it will introduce you to facts that you never knew about this great ancient civilization.

There are numerous Mayans still living in their home regions
In fact, there are over seven million Mayans living in their home regions, many of whom have managed to maintain substantial remnants of their ancient cultural heritage. Some are quite integrated into the modern cultures of the nations in which they reside, while others continue a more traditional culturally distinct life, often speaking one of the Mayan languages as a primary language. The largest populations of contemporary Maya inhabit the Mexican states of Yucat√°n, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Chiapas, and in the Central American countries of Belize, Guatemala, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. Just as a point of interest, it is very possible that the word “shark” comes to us from the Mayan languages, as does the word “cocoa”. To say “thank you” in Yucatec Maya, you say “Jach Dyos b’o'otik.”

The Mayans “enhanced” the beauty of their children
The Maya desired some unnatural physical characteristics for their children. For instance, at a very young age boards were pressed on babies’ foreheads to create a flattened surface. This process was widespread among the upper class. Another practice was to cross babies’ eyes. To do this, objects were dangled in front of a newborn’s eyes, until the newborn’s eyes were completely and permanently crossed. Another interesting fact about Mayan children is that most were named according to the day they were born. Every day of the year had a specific name for both boys and girls and parents were expected to follow that practice.

The Mayans had many excellent medical practices
Health and medicine among the ancient Maya was a complex blend of mind, body, religion, ritual, and science. Important to all, medicine was practiced only by a select few who were given an excellent education. These men, called shamans, act as a medium between the physical world and spirit world. They practice sorcery for the purpose of healing, foresight, and control over natural events. Since medicine was so closely related to religion and sorcery, it was essential that Maya shamans had vast medical knowledge and skill. It is known that the Maya sutured wounds with human hair, reduced fractures, and were even skilled dental surgeons, making prostheses from jade and turquoise and filling teeth with iron pyrite.

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