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II The Ritual Practice of Time of the 260-day Calendar of the Postclassic Yucatec Civilisation

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Chapter Summary

The so-called Burner period 65-day intervals of the cyclical 260-day calendar are only acknowledged from Yucatec sources and therefore believed to represent an exclusive Yucatecian tradition. The Burner periods are recorded in the almanacs of divination both on good and bad days. The account of the Burner ceremonies in The Codex Pérez and The Book of Chilam Balam of Maní is accordingly incoherent and incomplete. The 260-day calendar had local names in the different languages in Mesoamerica but their meanings could be the same. This means that four interdependent "period-ending rites" or ritual practice of time observed four time intervals in a single spatial-temporal ritual. The religious and sociopolitical context is obscure and has therefore not been analysed in relation with these ceremonies. The four Burner ceremonies of a quadripartite 65-day sequence can therefore have functioned as a symbolic agricultural ritual delineating the 260-day agricultural period and the milpa.

Keywords: 260-day calendar; Burner ceremonies; Postclassic Yucate; quadripartite 65-day intervals; ritual practice; The Codex Pérez



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