Beliefs guatemalan and mayan-related eclipses – Free Press

Muchas personas aún manifiestan su temor con suspersticiones relacionadas con un eclipse.
Many people still express their fear with suspersticiones related to an eclipse.

On Monday, the 21st of August will occur a total eclipse of the Sun, which can be seen in the united States. In Guatemala, will be partial, since the shadow of the Moon that we see will overshadow the star king only 25 percent of its surface.

The mayans believed in Itzamna as a supreme deity, god of the sun, father of life, and health, and to Ixchel, his wife, goddess of the Moon, revered by many to be the divinity protector of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth, refer Elba Marina Villatoro and Celso A. Lara Figueroa, in his articles Beliefs and symbolisms popular about the eclipse in Guatemala and popular Traditions guatemalan on the eclipse of the Sun, published in the journal Popular Tradition, number 92, 1990, the Centre for Studies Folk (Cefol).

This is in line with the theogony maya, as well as in your relationship as a couple, marital, and the explanation of the popular belief about the eclipses as a result of the strife between the Sun and the Moon and their impact on the Earth both in animals as in plants and in the human, primarily, in the period of gestation.

Representación de Itzamná.
Representation of Itzamna.

Among the lacandons, the custom is to offer the Sun prayers through songs, so as to avoid both the litigation with the Moon as the destruction of the world.

Among the mayas of Yucatan, as well as between the inhabitants of different regions of Guatemala, is a widespread belief that these astronomical events are due to fights with her spouse between these two celestial bodies.

Jeroglífico maya que representa a la Luna.
Maya hieroglyph that represents the Moon.

The historian Antonio de Fuentes y Guzmán points out that by 1665, the mayans wanted to kill a local priest for trying to stop a ceremony during an eclipse. The indians were beating drums, tables, pieces of iron, hoes and grills, of iron, shouted and cried and said they wanted to help the Moon.

For the tzutujiles of Santiago Atitlán, Sololá, an eclipse occurs because a huge bat, zotz, linked to the death, sacrifices, and forces of darkness, to eat the Sun and steal its brilliance.

Zotz o murciélago.
Zotz or bat.

The custom of our ancestors, when there is eclipse, is to make a lot of noise when you touch the bell, noisemakers, hoes, drums, to scare the bat that you want to turn off the light of the Sun.

Among all ethnic groups and socio-cultural groups from the east of the country, and the garifuna, the eclipse is interpreted as the swallowing of the Sun by the Moon.

In the peoples of the Quiché is believed that this is the bird feathered rises also to swallow the sun. Is Gukumatz, the trainer.

Representación de Gukumatz.
Representation of Gukumatz.

In departments of the East as Jalapa, Jutiapa, and The Progress it is believed that it is the great snake that you have on your body the world and that is responsible for earthquakes, and tries to hide from the sun.

In the garifuna, is the struggle of good and evil, also represented by a big fish that wants to steal the light of the Sun. It is the triumph of the evil of the darkness against the well.

Throughout the country it is believed that is the day that the devil is on the loose, and therefore causes harm to every living being. By the old districts, which is when the «cachudo» it really does what you want, so you have to protect yourself from their influence.

Beliefs guatemalan and mayan-related eclipses - Free Press 1

In Totonicapán, and in almost all the region quiche, it is believed that the «lord of the hills» comes riding on animals like deer to herd and take care that neither the plants nor to the animals will happen to them anything during the fight of the Sun and the Moon. But neither should you see you man, because if not, it takes you to the caves of the interior of the hills.

Practical magic-religosas

A common practice is to not leave the house, especially, women. Pregnant women have to protect themselves by using two hooks of clothes and crossed to form a cross; others prefer to paste red threads in the clothing to prevent any malformation in children, says the historian, Érick Fernando García, of Cefol.

It is also believed that if women do not pay attention, children can be born with a red spot or moon, because the Moon calls to her children and the brand to differentiate it, adds García.

Must also burn the palms blessed on the palm Sunday to make ashes with them, and put crosses on doors, windows and stables. Make crosses on the forehead of the animals and the people for their respective protection.

Beliefs guatemalan and mayan-related eclipses - Free Press 2


In some villages in Huehuetenango and Sololá, the atabaleros sound their tunes and drums to help the Sun with sounds of warriors and shrill. It also serves to ward off the devil and his court is on the loose.

If the eclipse is total, it is recommended to sprinkle the house with holy water, so I don’t get any disgrace to its inhabitants.

Total eclipses are omens of catastrophes and cataclysms, believing it to announce the end of the world with great floods, earthquakes, and wars. According to Victor Miguel Diaz, the partial eclipse of the Sun of 1916 was the announcement of the earthquakes that destroyed in 1917-1918 to Guatemala City.

Imagen muestra cómo quedó destruido El Cerrito del Carmen, luego de los terremotos de 1917 y 1918.
Image shows how it was destroyed, The Cerrito del Carmen, after the earthquakes of 1917 and 1918.
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