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  • Mayan religion is often referred to as costumbre, the 'custom' or habitual religious practice, in contradistinction to orthodox Roman Catholic ritual.
  • Maya religion is a complex of ritual practices; therefore, the indigenous Yucatec village priest is simply called jmen 'practitioner'.

  • The Maya landscape is a ritual topography with landmarks such as mountains, wells and caves being assigned to specific ancestors and deities

  • Offerings serve to establish and renew relations ('contracts', 'pacts', or 'covenants') with the other world, and the choice, number, preparation, and arrangement of the offered items (such as special maize breads, maize and cacao drinks and honey licor, flowers, incense nodules, and also, cigars) obey to stringent rules.

  • The traditional Maya have their own religious functionaries, often hierarchically organized, and charged with the duties of praying and sacrificing on behalf of lineages, local groups, or the entire community.

  • The two most important male deities of the Tz'utujil Mayas of Santiago Atitlán, for example, the rain deity (Martín) and the Mam 'Grandfather' Maximón, have their own brotherhoods and priests.

  • In the private realm, the diviners ('seers', 'daykeepers') are active, together with the curers. The performance of many of the indigenous priests, but especially of the curers, shows features also associated with shamanism.[9]
Maya Ceremony - Blessing a child


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