As you probably know (we have mentioned it before), the Mayan culture has had a great influence in the world. Have you ever wondered who were the Mayans? A fun and different way to know about them is through their famous legends.
A legend is defined as a tale of natural or supernatural facts (or maybe both) between reality and myth, and is transmitted from generation to generation. I’m going to tell you about the most incredibles Mayan legends.
These are small creatures made from virgin mud, which deeply connect with their creators who have to pray and make offerings so they would protect them in return. Also farmers used them to take care of their crops. It is said that they were very loyal to their owners but also mischievous with the strangers hiding small objects or moving them to different places.
Dziú and the corn
This legend involves the problems of daily life and the relationship between nature and humans with the intervention of deities. This story is about Yumm Chaac, the god of water and agriculture, who noticed that the ground was about to lose fertility. He sought help from Kak, the god of fire, and decided to burn all the cornfields to fertilize it with ashes.
Before the fire started, he got help from birds; they had to collect all the seeds so they could plant them the following year. Among the large number of birds, one of them named Dziú decided to start early so he could relax the rest of the day; the other birds lowered their efficiency, as a consequence, the total of seeds were not collected.
When the bird Dziú knew what was happening, he decided to risk his life in the fire in order to save the seeds; at the end, he had his eyes red and his feathers burned. Because of this, the God Chaac Yumm decided that all the birds of this specie will have red eyes with a mark of ash in the wings.
Legend of Xtabay
This legend is about the birth of these two flowers: Xtabetun and Tzacam. It all starts with the story of two beautiful sisters; the first one, Xtabay, better known in town as the sinner “Xkeban” (which means “bad women”). The people ran away from her and despised her. From the inside she was kind and she helped the unprotected and healed the sick. The good woman was Utz – Colel; she was loved by the people because of her purity and justice, but in the inside she was rigid and hard hearted.
When both died, in their graves flowers grew. In the sinful’s grave, a flower called Xtabentún emerged; it was absolutely sweet. Instead, in the good woman’s grave, emerged the tzcacam flower, a cactus full of thorns. In this way the sisters’ real form was reflected.
These are some of the legends that reveal the beliefs that the Mayans had, and which helped to build their culture. There are many other legends that you can’t miss, some of them still prevail in some of the zones where this civilization was established. When you visit the Riviera Maya, you’ll learn more about this wonderful culture and traditions. Plan your next trip to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean!