Art & Culture

Maya Almighty: Chaac

The worship of water has always been one of the most important and common features in every culture and today we will introduce you to the Maya god of rain

Maya_Almighty_Chaac-rgb2Chaac is the counterpart of the Aztec rain god, Tláloc. According to some authors, Chaac was introduced to the Maya culture by another Mesoamerican culture, probably the Aztec.

He was represented as an old man with a long nose, similar to an elephant’s trunk, and two long fangs that came out of his mouth. He resembled a reptile holding an ax, which represented thunder.

But he wasn’t only the god of rain. Maya people believed that there was one god for each of the Cardinal points, and Chaak was the one of the east, known as Chac Xib Chaac, “the red man.” The other ones were Sac Xib Chaac, “the white man” of the North, Ek Xib Chaac, “the black man” of the West and Kan Xib Chaac, “the yellow man” of the South.

Given the scarcity of water, characteristic of the region at that time, and the importance of its abundance in the cultivation of corn, Chaac was one of the most revered gods in the Yucatan.

Evidence of his worship.

La Ruta Puuc is a group of archeological sites located in a region with hills in the west of the state of Yucatán (Puuc means hills). Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil and Labná are some of the cities in that zone and their architecture is full of representations of the god. During the Maya splendor, these cities were the ones that most suffered from the scarcity of water and people prayed to him for good harvests, making his worship stronger in this area.

Today.

Chaac is, by far, the most well-known name of all Maya gods, and he is mentioned in a funny way in jokes about rain and water. It is very common to hear somebody say that “Chaac is angry,” when it is raining, or “pray to Chaac to make it rain,” when it’s too dry. But regardless of the jokes, he still remains an important figure in the minds of all people in the Yucatan.

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