The Man of Corn: Magical Thought

The “Maya Bible”, known as Popol Vuh, was originally painted in an indiginous code. It was translated to the Quiché language in 1542, and the original is saved in a box sealed with 64 padlocks, whose keys are in the possession of 64 indigenous chiefs! Its translation to Spanish was under the care of Francisco de Ximénez in 1701.

The Maya word “Popol” means reunion, community, common house, meeting. And “Vuh” means book, paper, or the bark that was used to write on. And Popol Vuh is the name of the sacred book of the Quiché Indians of Guatemala, where they relate their cosmovision about the origin of the world and of the Maya.

In its first part, they describe the creation of the universe and the origin of man, who, after various failures, was made out of corn, basic nutritional food source.

With a history of approximately 3000 years, it has been possible to learn that the Maya civilization inhabited a vast surface of southeastern Mexico, currently occupied by the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán, and four countries in Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

One of its most important settlements, without a doubt, was made up of the whole area of the Yucatán peninsula, which divides the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, at the south end of North America and the north end of Central America.

The Maya civilization treasured the legends and myths which have traveled from mouth to mouth in the oral tradition. Today, for those who live in the state of Yucatán, it is very common to see small gatherings where an elder is telling brief stories to children seated around him. Sometimes in the street, other times in the patio of a house, the narrations succeed one another and the children pay more and more attention.

This scene takes place when the Maya villagers go to their fields or their nurseries, accompanied by children and youth who are learning the labors of the fields. Then, during the rest periods or upon returning home, the presence of a bird or a fallen tree, can provide the inspiration for the grandfather to narrate, completely naturally, a myth or a legend. In this way, they have reached us, causing us to shiver with their magical enchantment. And they are so captivating, we have decided to select a sample of the good luck of this fantastic literature, to share with you in upcoming editions.

By: Yurina Fernández Noa

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