Mayan Superstitions: Echoes of Ancient Beliefs in the Modern World

Mayan Superstitions: Echoes of Ancient Beliefs in the Modern World

For the ancient Maya, the world was brimming with spirits, omens, and powerful forces interwoven with daily life. While many aspects of their civilization have changed, echoes of traditional beliefs and superstitions still linger. These superstitions provide a fascinating window into Mayan cosmology and their deep connection to the natural world.

Read more: Mayan Superstitions: Echoes of Ancient Beliefs in the Modern World

Superstitions of the Home and Hearth

  • Hanging a Horseshoe for Luck: Reversing the horseshoe’s traditional ‘U’ shape is believed to prevent good fortune from draining away. This superstition might reflect a blend of Mayan and Spanish traditions after colonization.
  • Don’t Sweep at Night: It’s thought that sweeping after dark will brush away good luck or financial blessings. This belief likely centers on practicality – in the low light of the past, you might accidentally sweep out something valuable!
  • The Power of the Cross: Crosses placed above doorways are believed to ward off evil spirits. The cross symbol likely found new meaning after the introduction of Christianity, blending with existing Mayan concepts of sacred powers.

Nature’s Warnings and Omens

  • Beware the Black Bird: Seeing a black bird flying into your house is considered a harbinger of misfortune or even death. Black birds often had associations with the underworld in Mayan tradition.
  • Whistling Attracts Snakes: Whistling at night, especially in wilderness areas, is believed to beckon snakes. Snakes held complex symbolism for the Maya, sometimes representing danger, but also power and transformation.
  • Owl Calls and Misfortune: Just like many cultures, the Maya associate hearing an owl’s call with an impending death. This likely stems from the owl’s association with the night and its status as a stealthy predator.

Health, Healing, and the Body

  • Beware a Pregnant Woman’s Gaze: It’s believed a pregnant woman’s gaze can “sour” crops or leave a child with the “evil eye.” This might relate to concerns about vulnerability during pregnancy and the potential dangers of envy.
  • Hang Garlic for Protection: Hanging garlic in the home wards off sickness and deflects negative energies. This tradition, common in many cultures, might relate to garlic’s strong odor being perceived as a repellent.
  • Sleeping with Scissors Under the Pillow: This practice is believed to prevent nightmares. The sharp object might be seen as symbolically cutting through negative dreams and anxieties.


These are but a few examples of the rich tapestry of Mayan superstitions. While some have faded into obscurity, others persist in adapted forms within modern Mayan communities. They offer us a window into the profound worldview of the Maya, where the natural and supernatural realms were inextricably linked.

Mayan Celebrations And Holidays

This November, just before Thanksgiving, I myself and my wife are planning to take the kids to a unique vacation, one that we haven’t experienced yet. We have considered a lot of things. We  could go on a cruise ship vacation in the Bahamas or we can go to the Philippines either in Cebu  or Boracay Island and a lot more. But, we already have that done-that-been-there attitude. So, something new would be nice. I am a runner and so are my wife and two kids, aged 15 and 18.

So, we scanned for running events from other places during that month and we hit a jackpot- a Mayan Maraton which will be held in Guatemala especially in Amatitlan. One thing’s for sure. This vacation of ours is going to be one-of-a-kind! So, what do we expect on this Mayan Maraton? I’ve heard that Mayan places like Guatemala has a lot of things to offer to tourists like us. We assume that the Roman Catholics are the only ones who has elaborate celebrations of anything especially holy celebrations. But, we are wrong.

The Mayans have a lot of things to celebrate all year round. That means to say that if we can’t  go to the Mayan Maraton and participate and enjoy our vacation, we can enjoy the place, the scenery, the wonderful people, the exotic foods and, for sure, a lot of ancient Mayan artifacts any time of the year when we want to.


I have been trying to find a list of Mayan holidays and, fortunately, I have found one. Actually, the one that I’ve found is a list of Mayan celebrations in the highlands of Chiapas in Mexico. So, if ever we change our minds and go to Mexico instead of Guatemala, we already have the list of  their holidays. Anyway, Chiapas and Guatemala are just neighbors, so to speak.

They are also celebrating New Year’s Day on January 1st Sebastian and Dia de San Ildefonso on the same month. February holds the biggest celebration which is “Carnaval”. Actually, it will take place in various like in Tenejapa, San Juan Chamula, San Pedro Chenalhó and San Andrés Larráinzar. The spectacular festivities take place over a week-long period.

Almost all months of the year, they have celebrations like Festival de San Pedro and other celebrations. But the biggest ones are held in the month of December. They have Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Dia de Santa Lucia, Fiesta de Santo Tomas and, of course, New Year’s Eve.

It seems like most of their celebrations are akin to what Roman Catholics are celebrating. However, if you are looking for some ancient Mayan artifacts and other items and/or you just want to be fascinated with their people and places, you can actually find what you want in any area where Mayans exist.

Going back to our marathon dream at Guatemala, well, if we can’t join, we can always to go Chiapas and other Mayan areas and enjoy our vacation and we will be enjoying it every minute since we will be together as one family.

Was The Mayan Prediction A Hoax Or Did Someone Misinterpreted It?

Was The Mayan Prediction A Hoax Or Did Someone Misinterpreted It?

Mayan_prediction_2012When the year 2012 reared its head almost two years ago, everybody was in awed anticipation. Is the end of the world really at hand? Blame it on the so-called “Doomsday Mayan Prediction”. For sure, everybody still remembers that, right? According to a Mayan calendar, the end of the world will be on December 21, 2012. Now, I won’t have to go into details about how that calendar was discovered, who discovered it, etcetera, etcetera, blah blah blah. No, I won’t do that here. But, there is just one question that lingers on my head and I’m sure it is also lingering on a few individuals here on Earth:

“Was the Mayan prediction a hoax or did someone misinterpreted it?” And this question leads to another one almost relative to the first: “Were the Mayans incorrect with their prediction?”

First of all, since it is already the year 2014, we all already heaved a sigh of relief and safely  say that that prediction of the Mayans was entirely a hoax. Many people were duped into it. Some even went too far or overboard by constructing their own bunker and stuffed it with  provisions that can last decades for their respective family’s consumption. There were even a lot of different websites all over the internet that are telling a lot about “2012” like the history of that Mayan prediction to different tips on what to do before, during and after the whatever is coming, that is, if they have survived and even went money-crazy by selling survival kits, water tanks, books on how to survive the Armageddon and a lot more.

Millions of dollars were wasted on these things alone. Now, since we have all “survived” the “Armageddon”, what will they do with all of those provisions? Now, ask yourself once again: “Was it a hoax or did somebody just misinterpreted the Mayan doomsday prediction?”

So, if somebody miscalculated or misinterpreted the calendar, then, that means to say that the calendar was actually right to some few points. According to Ann Martin, a doctoral candidate in Cornell University’s department of astronomy, the Mayan calendar was or is cyclical. The long count of that calendar was really meant to end on December 2012 and that means that it is the end of great calendar cycle in Mayan society. If you try to look at it, it’s much like our modern society celebrated the new Millennium, the new beginning for everyone.

So, that explains it, basically. But, don’t think that there will be no end of the world. There will be and it depends on how one will look at it, right? As for the Mayan prediction, let us just say that “it is doing away with the old” and it’s the same as New Year’s Resolution.