10 characteristics of the MAYAN culture

10 months ago

Within the civilizations that have existed, the Mayan culture was one of the most developed in Mesoamerica. This culture occupied the territories of present-day southern Mexico and northern Central America, reaching Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize.

Thanks to history we know that its beginnings date back to the pre-classical period. Although its heyday really took place during the classical period, around 250 and 900 years after Christ.

It is worth mentioning that during that time the Mayan culture experienced a long decline. But not in the cities located in the Yucatan peninsula, since history shows that it was there where this culture had its greatest splendor. Then, a few years later, with the arrival of the Spanish in America, they wiped out the last vestiges of this culture.

Characteristics of the Mayan culture

The Mayan culture is considered one of the most important in the entire American continent. His contributions in areas such as mathematics, astronomy and architecture greatly influenced subsequent cultures.



  1. The Mayan culture professed a polytheistic religion and their beliefs were closely linked to nature.
  2. Their most important gods were Itzamna or old God and Hunab Ku. Also, they had other gods related to rain, sun, agriculture, death and other aspects of daily life.
  3. One of the characteristics of the Mayan culture was that they affirmed the existence of four previous historical ages. Which had been destroyed by the effect of a natural element (air, water, earth and fire) different in each one.
  4. For the Mayan culture it was very important to perform various religious ceremonies. Many of them consisted of fasting, sacrifices, prayers and dances. It is worth mentioning that all these ceremonies were led by priests. And they were carried out on many occasions in the pyramids with the function of temples for worship.
  5. Another of the characteristics of the Mayan culture was that they were divided by class. Below the royal family, were the state officials. This class was composed of the directors of the ceremonies, the military, and the tax collectors. In addition, in this same social class were also the priests, who among their religious tasks included the study of astronomy and other sciences.


  6. Another sector that was in this second social step, were the nobles and their titles were inherited. These, in the company of the priests, advised the kings when they had to decide on some important issue.
  7. The Mayan culture made great contributions, the most outstanding can be seen in the architecture made and the construction of their calendars.
  8. In the Popol Vuh, one of the sacred books mentions that the Mayan culture always had a very close relationship with the products of the land. According to them, the human being was created from a grain of corn.
  9. It can be said that corn was precisely the basis of the Mayan diet, along with other essential foods such as beans. The latter was used to make a kind of puree that was eaten spread on tortillas.
  10. According to experts, later on, fruits and vegetables began to be introduced into the diet of the Mayan culture. Among the most common were pumpkin, guava, papaya and avocado. Experts also claim that the Mayans ate meat, although not in abundance.


Other characteristics of their culture and lifestyle

One of the best known recipes of the Mayan culture was the so-called drink of the gods. This drink consisted of a mixture of chili, honey and cocoa, and was drunk hot.

Also, evidence has been found that they domesticated animals intended for consumption such as turkeys or dogs. Although, they also ate wild animals and fish.

The Mayan culture was a civilization considered one of the most advanced among all those that developed in Mesoamerica. Its greatest advances correspond to a complete written language. As well as various contributions in architecture and art.

They were inventors of sophisticated astronomical and mathematical systems, without counting on the ideal calculation instruments and apparatus. They also made important advances in medicine.

Despite the fact that the Mayan culture managed to explain and provide a lot of relevant information in important areas for development. Also, they are pioneers in other activities such as recreation. It is said that one of their traditions was the game of pok a pok or better known as the ball game. In fact, in cities like Chichén Itzá, Tulum there are stadiums where the Mayans practiced this sport.

The truth is that the Mayan culture is one of the civilizations that historians and scientists have studied in depth. Well, their contributions were many and quite innovative for the date they were developed.



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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2024) 10 characteristics of the MAYAN culture, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-the-mayan-culture/ (Consultado el: 12-04-2024)

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