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III The Ritual Practice of Time of the 365-day Calendar of the Postclassic Yucatec Civilisation

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Chapter Summary

Rituals were observed in the final veintenas of the 365-day calendar of the past year and of the first veintena of the New Year in many Mesoamerican cultures. The primary source to the postclassic Yucatec 365-day calendar rituals are the codices. The postclassic Maya codices were consequently ritual guides or manuals, containing short cryptic texts, where deity performers act as instructors modelling how to conduct a ceremony. A symbolic death during a period of ritual seclusion is followed by a symbolic rebirth. A rite de passage represents for this reason a symbolic death and renewal ritual. The postclassic Yucatec New Year festival or ritual can accordingly be considered to be a rite de passage only if three inter-connected and interdependent ceremonies can be recognised. The liminal five-day Wayeb period was reported by various sources to be a period of affliction and anxiety.

Keywords: Postclassic Yucate civilisation; rite de passage; Wayeb period; Yucatec 365-day calendar rituals



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