The Wayeb’

The five unnamed days at the end of the Haab’ calendar are called the “Wayeb’,”

This period of time was believed to be a very dangerous time to the Maya.

It was believed that during the five day period of the Wayeb’, the passageways between the mortal realm and the realm of the underworld opened up. This left no boundaries that prevented the ill-intending spirits and deities from creating havoc and causing disasters to happen.

Women dancers and man portraying Ah puch, Lord of the Underworld (or God of Death), during the Maya culture performance “Los Rostros de Ek chuah”, honoring the Maya God of Cacao, at Xcaret park, Riviera Maya, Mexico. Photo taken by Greg Vaughn Photography

During this time, the Maya had customs they followed and practiced certain rituals to ward off the evil spirits during the days of the Wayeb’.

The Wayeb' glyph.
The Wayeb’ glyph.

Some examples of the customs that many Maya followed during the period of the Wayeb’ would be practices like trying to avoid leaving their house for the full five days if they could.  Bishop Landa wrote that the Maya believed that the time during the Wayeb was considered to be such an unlucky period of time that they didn’t wash, comb their hair or do any hard work during these five days.

It was treated as a sort of Sabbath where they rested and avoided doing anything. The Maya also believed that anyone born during these days would have a life of bad luck and would remain poor and unhappy for the whole of their lives.

 

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written by Njord Kane © 2016 Spangenhelm Publishing


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