The Maya were a very religious people. They not only feared death, but also feared their gods' anger and judgement. They believed in a heaven-like after-death and kept a great respect for those who had died after mourning the loss extensively. The Mayans also believed that dying as sacrafice, on the battlefeild, or during child birth was among the more noble deaths, and those people were sent straight to heaven in the after life. Those who died in a less noble way were sent on a journey in search of heaven, but those who lived lives of sin and selfishness were immediately sent to the Mayan version of Hell called Xilbalba.
In the ancient Mayan culture, bloodletting consisted of cutting apart the body to release blood. They used this as a way to communicate with the Gods and royal ancestors. The bloodletting ceremonies were performed on set dates like the beginning or ending of a calendar cycle. The ceremonies may also be executed when a king ascends to the throne, at building dedications, or even at important events in a king or queens life. Some of those important life events include births, deaths, marriages, and war.
Mayan dance ritual
To see an actual Maya ritual dance, watch the video to the left! If you want to learn more about Mayan dances from the past and present, visit this website, http://conquista.arts.ubc.ca/dance.html.