9 Cool Facts On Mayans And Mayan Civilization…

Mayan Facts for Kids
Mayans by Señor Codo, CC BY-SA 2.0


9 Cool Facts On Mayans And Mayan Civilization…

Mayans by Señor Codo, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Mayans were an ancient civilization that inhabited Middle America. It has a very intriguing and also complex history. For an ancient civilization, they had a very advanced culture and had developed their own written language, architecture, mathematics and astronomical system. The reason for the collapse of this great ancient civilization is still a mystery.

1. Mayan calendar

Image credit: bambe1964, CC BY-ND 2.0

The Mayans are probably best known for the prediction of the apocalypse. The Mayan long count calendar has led to the myth about the end of the world. What the calendar actually means is that a new age is beginning. After 31st December a new year begins, it does not mean the world is ending; that is the idea of the Mayans’ calendar. Some people probably mistook its meaning and led to the belief that the world would end in 2012.

2. Flat foreheads

Maya stucco head. Classic Period (300-900). Origin: Usumacinta region. Musées Royaux d’art et d’Histoire, Brussels (Belgium). Image credit: Michel wal, GFDL.

Ancient Mayans, similar to people today was also interested in beauty tricks. However, their idea of “pretty” was quite different. Mayans desired odd characteristics in their people. They though a long head was attractive. Hence, when a baby was still tender and soft and can b re-shaped easily, they would press boards on the baby. A pair of boards was strapped to the back and front of the baby’s head. This was done to create a flat forehead and is done at a very young age. This process was most common among the upper class. And as a result they would have long, sloping foreheads.

3. Cross-eyed

Image credit: linein, CC BY-SA 2.0

Another favored feature was being permanently cross-eyed. They would attempt to cross eye babies so that they remain permanently crossed. This was done by dangling objects in front of the newborn baby’s eyes. The ‘cross-eyed’ look was considered beautiful for women.

4. Long Noses


For the Mayan’s, having a large, pronounced nose was attractive. Some would even attach a clay extension to the nose to make it seem larger.

5. Ancient Mayans’ “gemmed” teeth

Jade-Toothed Skull by DavidDennisPhotos.com cc2.0

For Mayans who wished to brighten up their smile, their dentistry had precious solutions. They would insert precious and semi-precious gemstones into their teeth. It was fashionable for people of all classes to have ‘gemmed’ teeth. However, getting this process was not as easy as smiling. The tooth was drilled with a hand-held drill. Once the hole was made and the gem set in place, natural glue would seal it. Ancient Mayans did not have the advantage of modern day anesthesia or painkillers.

6. Human Sacrifice


It is a famous fact that the Mayans performed human sacrifices. Sacrifices where done either for religious or medical reasons. Several methods were used for the sacrificial ritual, among them the most common was decapitation and the removal of the heart. They would paint the victim in blue and then remove his heart while it was still beating. To do this, the victim would be undressed, then a peaked headdress would be put on him and then the victim would be strapped to a convex stone that would push his chest upwards. A priest performed this ritual. He would cut into the victims ribs just below the left breast and pull out the beating heart. Depending on the type of ritual, sometimes, the corpse was skinned, except for the hands and feet. Then the priest would remove his ritual attire and dress himself in the skin of the sacrificed person. He would then perform a ritual dance symbolizing rebirth. If the sacrificed person were a particularly courageous warrior, then he would be cut into portions that would be eaten by the bystanders.

The sacrifice of a living being was regarded as a powerful blood offering to the Mayan deities and that blood was a powerful source of nourishment for them. Sacrificing an enemy king was the most valued offering. The king would be decapitated. Moreover, normally only high status war prisoners were offered as human sacrifices and lower status prisoners were kept for labour.

Some other ways of sacrificing that the Mayans performed were arrow sacrifice, throwing the sacrifice into a deep sinkhole, burying alive etc.

7. Use of painkillers

The people used hallucinogenic drugs regularly in their religious rituals. It is a drug that brings on hallucinations. These drugs were not limited to the rituals, but they were used in daily life as painkillers.

8. Naming children

Maya days. Image credit: Authenticmaya, GFDL.

Each day in the Mayan calendar had a specific name for boys and girls. The parents had to follow this practice. Children were named based on the day of their birth.

9. Mayans are not entirely wiped out

Modern day Mayans. Image credit: Reinhard Jahn, Mannheim, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE.

One important detail most people do not realized when it comes to the Mayan civilization is that Mayans still exist. There are still Mayans living in their home regions. While some of them have started to follow the modern cultures and most of them still continue to carry out their ancient traditions.

To learn more about Mayans, visit:

10 Interesting Facts About The Ancient Mayans!





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