Friday 25 May 2012

Chupacabra and Mayans article

Mexico: a date with mystical Mayan time lords
New archaeological finds are quickening interest in the Maya, a people whose history is shrouded in myths. Nigel Richardson, touring their former lands, found old beliefs as potent as ever .
Between the ruined Mayan cities of Kabah and Uxmal, in the Mexican state of Yucatán, there is a red church on a hill. The interior is lined with strange wooden shrines, their doors ajar like cabinets of curiosities. A caretaker who was clearing away the guttered candles welcomed us and said sadly, “We don’t hold so many religious festivals these days. Because of the chupacabra, you see.” The chupacabra? It translates literally as “goatsucker” – a cryptid, or mythical beast, that the villagers of Santa Elena believe preys on livestock. If you hold a festival you are just asking for the chupacabra to saunter along and pick off the goats and pigs you bring to feed the festival-goers. So it’s best not to hold festivals in the first place. Superstition runs deep here – as deep, indeed, as el inframundo, the underworld, which underpinned the beliefs of the old Mayan civilisation of Mexico and Central America. This year the eyes of the world are turning afresh on this extraordinary people and period of history.
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