Bautizo MayaThis was the name given by the Maya to a ceremony called “baptism” by Bishop Diego de Landa, and “puberty” by Dr. Sylvanus G. Morley in his book La Civilización Maya.

Thanks to Bishop de Landa, we know that on the day of the celebration everyone gathered on the patio of the “padrino’s” house (godfather), a key person of the village. As well, an elder man was named padrino of the boys and an elder woman was named as madrina (godmother) of the girls.

The priest, wearing a magnificent cape and a kind of colored feather headdress, sprinkled holy water from a sprinkler made from an ancient stick, which was decorated with rattlesnake rattles. Four honorable elder men served as helpers, and placed pieces of white fabric brought by the mothers on the heads of the boys.

When everyone was seated and in absolute silence, the priest poured holy water over the boys with the sprinkler, and sat down. Next, the padrino of the ceremony tapped the forehead of each boy nine times with a bone provided by the priest, and dampening it with holy water, moistened various points on the face and the spaces between the fingers and toes.

The priest removed the white cloth from the boys’ heads, who gave the helpers beautiful feathers and grains of cacao. Then the priest proceeded to remove the white bead from each boy’s head, which he had worn since the age of four or five as a symbol of virginity. The helpers, carrying flowers and pipes, waved smoke over each boy various times.

Later, the food was given out, which had been prepared by the mothers. One designated official had to drink a whole glass of wine without stopping, as an offering from the young people to the gods.

Every mother removed the red shell from her daughter, which, like the boys, she had worn on her head as a symbol of purity. Now they were considered ready to marry.

The celebration ended with everyone eating and drinking, except the padrino of the ceremony, who was responsible for three days of fasting before the celebration and for nine days afterwards.

By: Yurina Fernández Noa

([email protected])

Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES