The bodies of the dead were wrapped in cotton mantles before being buried. Burial sites were oriented to provide access to the otherworld. Graves faced north or west, in the directions of the Maya heavens, and others were located in caves, entrances to the underworld.
The Maya believed in a scary afterlife where most people had to travel through a dark underworld where mean gods would torment them. The only people who started out the afterlife in heaven were women who died in childbirth and people who had been sacrificed to the gods.
They were buried with burial goods such as ornaments , hand axes etc because earlier people believed in rebirth. So, so that the dead person does not have to food , they buried the dead body with burial goods. They were buried with burial goods such as ornaments , hand axes etc because earlier people believed in rebirth.
The Maya performed rituals in order to satisfy the gods and guarantee some order to the world. Different rituals and ceremonies corresponded to different practices such as marriage, divination and baptism. These are rites related to the cycles of the year, cycles of time and ceremonies of sacrifices for the gods.
Heart removal. Heart extractions and sacrifice have been viewed as a “supreme religious expression among the ancient Maya “. The removal of the still-beating heart , or sometimes self-immolation, was considered a great offering and meal for the gods.
Maya priests in the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula sacrificed children to petition the gods for rain and fertile fields by throwing them into sacred sinkhole caves, known as “cenotes.” The caves served as a source of water for the Mayans and were also thought to be an entrance to the underworld.
Most Maya today observe a religion composed of ancient Maya ideas, animism and Catholicism. Some Maya still believe, for example, that their village is the ceremonial centre of a world supported at its four corners by gods.
Although the Mayan people never entirely disappeared— their descendants still live across Central America—dozens of core urban areas in the lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula, such as Tikal, went from bustling cities to abandoned ruins over the course of roughly a hundred years.
Adults were buried in pits in which the whole skeleton was kept. Vessels containing food and water were also placed in the pit. Both types of burials were found within the habitation area, either inside or in the courtyard of the house.
The living need a sense of closure and comfort, and coffins help to provide those things. Coffins are an important part of death and funeral rites, because they allow the body to rest comfortably, protected from disturbances, and allow the living to feel that they have cared for and respected their loved one.
Cardinal Müller added: “ We believe in the resurrection of the body, so burial is the normal form for the Christian faithful, especially Catholics , whom we are addressing with this document.” Burial prevents the forgetting of the loved one, as well as “unfitting or superstitious practices,” the document states.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . Serfs typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader. There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and elites were both permitted to own slaves .