Through the following Mayan myths, this civilization orally transmitted explanations for natural phenomena, for the behavior of man and his relationship with nature. They are fascinating stories that will surprise you. Don’t miss them! INDEX
1. The Mayan myth of creation
2. The most important Mayan myths
3. Mayan myths of love
4. Other short Mayan myths The Mayan myth of creation
The different translations and copies of the Popol Vuh or “Book of the community” of The Mayans (a Mesoamerican civilization that survived 18 centuries) have allowed the content of the most important text to understand the culture of that people, their conception of man and their relationship with the world and nature, to reach our days.
According to the Mayan creation myth contained in the Popol Vuh, the world was preceded by a void formed by silence and calm in which the Creation gods remained crouched, dressed in blue and green feathers, and presided over by Tepeu and Gucumaz.
Gathered in the confines of the night, the creator gods agreed to give life to man and for this they withdrew the waters, made the earth emerge and join it to the sky while the forests and mountains appeared in it. The gods populated the earth with animals , but they could not speak, so they created a man of clay.
But the mud was flimsy and though he could talk, he couldn’t think. That is why they destroyed it and created a wooden man, which was still too limited. That’s why they swept it away with a flood. Finally they created man by means of an ear of corn , which he could see and they knew too much, with which their understanding was limited.
Later the woman was created and thus the Creation was completed, with the fabrication of a human being more intelligent than the animals but less capable than the gods.

  • Discover more about this and other myths of the creation of the world

The most important Mayan myths
Among the great variety of Mayan myths that exist, these are the most important and those that occupied a central place in Mesoamerican culture thousands of years ago. 1. The myth of the lotus flower
Mythology was the way that ancient cultures had to explain phenomena of nature. This is the most famous legend of the Mayan mythology and explains the origin of the lotus flower from the intervention of the gods in nature.
Legend has it that in the Mayab jungle, Prince Chacdziedzib (cardinal bird in the Mayan language) fell madly in love with the daughter of the guardian of the cenote.(spring water tank). This maiden was called Nicte-Ha (lotus flower in the Mayan language). But her father’s opposition made the gods decree the girl’s death.
A court jester of the prince, knowing the plans of the gods, warned his master, who chose the best of his knights to rescue the maiden. But he died trying, and so Chacdziedzib personally took up the challenge. He thus reached the maiden and saved her from her, but while they remained embracing an arrow pierced Nicte-Ha’s heart.
This is how the girl died and her body sank into the water, invading the prince’s heart with unspeakable pain. To redeem him, the god of waters and the god of birds turned the prince into a cardinal bird.and the princess in a lotus flower. Since then, every morning the bird sings to the flower of her sincere love. 2. The Mayan myth of the moon: Ixchel
According to Mayan mythology, when the gods were still mortal , there was a beautiful maiden named Ixchel . Among her many suitors, a young man named Itzamna and another with an unknown name attracted attention.
To resolve the situation, the sister of the beautiful girl, called Ixtab, summoned the two suitors and challenged them to a fight in which only one could remain standing . Itzamna was more skillful and fought with more courage, but when he already had his opponent subdued by him, he carelessly turned around and defeated him.
Distraught over the death of her lover, Ixchel runs to her sister and tells her that her soul will always be with Itzanma. She then commits suicide , and then Ixtab to avenge her death decides to kill the man who had killed Iztamna.
This is how Iztamna became the god of the Sun, Ixchel the goddess of the Moon, and Ixtab, who until then was the Moon goddess, became the divinity of suicide. The Mayans believed that when Ixchel and Iztamna, the sun and the moon coincide in the sky, the love of lovers is realized .
Chichen Itza pyramid. | Marv Watson. 3. The Mayan myth of fire
Mayan mythology tells the legend of an angel who communicated to one of the creator gods the existence of a world inhabited by human beings in the immensity of the cosmos. After a lightning visit, the god realized that humans lived in a partially frozen world, so he blessed them with a gift: he gave them Fire .
To do so, the god sent a bolt of lightning that split a tree and turned it into a great bonfire, but the men were frightened and fled, leaving it to turn to ash. As a second attempt, he sent them a meteorite that burned all the forests. The men fled, leaving the woods to turn to ash .
Only one curious man decided to approach and, touching the ash, realized that it burned. Throwing the ashes into a pile of dry grass, they caught fire, and then he understood the power of fire. The light and heat accompanied the men for many days, until a torrential rain extinguished it again.
Enraged, the man returned to the mountains and hitting one stone on another realized that sparks appeared and that caused the fire again . The god sighed quietly, and retreated back to his chambers. Since then, Mesoamerican culture has considered fire as a gift from the gods. Mayan myths of love
The Mayan myths contain a great wealth of elements and original narratives from which some love stories worthy of the best writers can be extracted. Do not miss the most fascinating Mayan myths of love. 4. The legend of Cenote Zaci
Two families shared power over the town of Zaci: the Cocom and the Cupules. The head of the Cocom was the village sorceress, who had as a granddaughter a girl named Zak-Nicte (white flower). The leader of the Cupules, Halach Huinic, had a son, Prince Hul-Kin, who after a beautiful friendship with Zak-Nicte began a love story.
However, Hul-Kin’s father could not allow his son to unite with the granddaughter of his great enemy, soI agree to a marriage with a maiden from a neighboring town , and there he sent the prince. After the departure of her beloved, Zak-Nicte entered a depression and, victim of desperation, confessed to her grandmother that she was pregnant with Hul-Kin.
The sorceress did her best to attract the young prince back, but he had married and was happy with his new wife. Desperate, Zak-Nicte tied her hair to a large rock and threw her into the cenote, sinking with her. A hunch made Hul-Kin return to his town, and upon learning of the girl’s death, he also threw himself into the cenote.
This is how the sorceress, standing before the cenote, dedicated a few last words to her granddaughter: “My promise has been fulfilled, I have brought you back to Hul-Kin.”He also cast a curse on Cenote Zaci, since it should take the life of a young man to honor loved ones. 5. The legend of Maquech The legend features Cuzan , a beautiful princess who had hair like the wings of swallows. When she was of marriageable age, her father betrothed her to the future king of Nan Chan City.
One day, returning from the war, Cuzan’s father gave her daughter several jewels from the booty. When the princess went to the Great Hall of the palace to thank her father for her detail, she saw him accompanied by one of the warriors from her entourage, a young man with fiery red hair named Chalpol. They fell madly in love, and promised each other eternal love.
When his father discovered that they were lovers, he was furious and ordered Chalpol’s execution. After the pleas of his daughter and when everything was ready for the sacrifice, the king pardoned his warrior under oath that Cuzan would lock himself in his room from which he could not leave, or else Chalpol I would die.
In the middle of the night, the princess was called by the high priest, who placed a beetle in her hands: “Your father spared Chalpol, but he asked me to turn him into a beetle . Here you have your beloved, Maquech (beetle in the Mayan language) ”.
Cuzan asked the royal jeweler to adorn it with precious stones and tie its legs to a chain. Since then, Cuzan has carried it forever on his chest.. 6. Canek and Zak-Nicte
The figure of Zak-Nicte, the white flower, reappears here. In this legend it is about a princess who lived in the time of the truce between the three great Mayan cities: Mayapan, Uxmal and Chichen Itza.
The young Canek had become king of Chichen Itza, and fell in love with Zak-Nicte just by seeing her, promising that her lives would be united forever . But the girl’s father, king of Mayapan, had betrothed her to Ulil, the crown prince of Uxmal. When Canek received the invitation to the wedding, he accepted and promised not to miss the date. Then, a dwarf came to him and whispered in his ear : “The white flower awaits you among the green leaves, don’t let someone else pull it out.”
On the day of the wedding everything was prepared, but Canek, the king of Chichen Itza, did not appear. When the fiances were at the altar, he burst in with his warriors and snatching the princess they fled at a gallop. This caused the truce to break and Mayapan and Uxmal united against Chichen Itza, and declared war on it.
Before the war broke out the inhabitants of the city, led by their king and princess, fled to the mountains. The kings of Mayapan and Uxmal, upon arriving at Chichen Itza and seeing that the city was empty, became furious and burned everything. But its inhabitants lived in the mountains in peace, blessed with the eternal love of their king and princess . 7. The wood pigeon
A brave and very handsome warrior loved hunting above all else, and on one of his expeditions, after several hours of unsuccessful hunting, he decided to approach a water spring where the animals used to come to drink. There he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Since then she hardly slept, and instead of hunting she went to the lake every day, but she never found it and decided to resort to the services of a sorceress. She offered him the chance to see her again in exchange for her turning into a dove , with no chance of ever returning to her human form. The man, madly in love, accepted.
The sorceress stuck a thorn in his neck and turned him into a dove, after which he took flight and headed for the stream. And there was the maid. The bird approached her, but when she saw it, she removed the thorn from her neck and the warrior bled to death. The girl, repentant, stuck the thorn in her neck and was turned into a dove that since then mourns the death of her beloved.
Ancient myths of the Mexica culture. | John Salzarulo. Other short Mayan myths
Through the following short stories, the Mayans orally transmitted stories that help to think and reflect on feelings and behaviors. Discover the most interesting short Mayan myths. 8. The sadness of mayaA Mayan man was always sad . One day the animals approached him and asked him what he wanted. He replied that he wanted to be happy.
“Make a wish come true,” said the owl. The man asked to know when the rains would come, and the nightingale promised to let him know. He wanted to know all the medicinal herbs, and the snake marked them as he passed. The deer gave him energy not to get tired , the vulture good eyesight, the jaguar strength and the fox intelligence.
So the man left, and the owl, source of wisdom, told the rest of the animals that although man could do more things , he would always be sad. 9. The man who sold his soul
A man summoned the demon Kizin and offered to give him his soul in exchange for seven wishes, one for each day of the week before disappearing forever . The demon gladly accepted.
As a first wish he asked for money, on the second day he requested health, on the third power, and on the fourth food. On the fifth day he claimed to travel, the next day women, and as a last wish, on the last day he asked to wash some dirty beans to turn them white , because the man knew that the beans were black by themselves, and could not turn white.
Thus, after enjoying a week of desires, the man managed to delay the outcome. Finally, the demon Kizin discovered the deception and decided to create white and red beans so that they would never cheat him again. This is the explanation that the Mayans have for why there are black and white beans . 10. Dziu and corn
In order for the land to become fertile and productive again, the god of water and the god of fire agreed to burn everything so that he could be born again . Before, they asked the birds to save one seed of each species and then plant them again. The Dziu bird, lazy, went to sleep.
When the fire was about to destroy everything, the bird woke up and, aware of his mistake, desperately rushed to the plantation to collect the corn seeds. His eyes were red, his wings burned , and in recognition God caused all the birds of his kind from then on to have red eyes and black wings. 11. The dog and Kaskabal
A man always hit his dog, but he remained faithful. The evil spirit Kaskabal saw an opportunity to steal a new soul, and told the dog to run away from his master. The dog agreed but asked for a bone for each of the hairs that covered his body , so Kaskabal began to count one by one the hairs that the dog had.
Kaskabal counted, and when he was about to reach the end, the dog jumped, arguing that the fleas bothered him. The spirit was deducted, and he started again from scratch. So up to a hundred times, until Kaskabal told the dog that he could keep his soul . And that’s how he understood that it was easier to stay with the soul of a human, than with that of a dog. 12. The legend of the hummingbird
This is one of the most beautiful short Mayan myths, which explains the creation of the most beautiful and fascinating bird in the world: the hummingbird.
Once the gods were creating the birds but, to create the last one, they had run out of material, so they decided to make it with jade stonewith which they molded a small arrow. Instantly he flew away, and thus the hummingbird was born, a wonder of nature to which he only gave a green glow to his plumage.
It was so beautiful that the men promised to capture it and make it theirs. The gods were angry, and gave the hummingbird speed and agility , and the ability to move backwards as well. Since then, this bird lives in freedom. Bibliographic references
Taube, K. (2004). Aztec and Mayan myths (Vol. 8). Akal Editions.
Popol Vuh. Linkgua digital, 2011.
Florescano, E. (2017). Quetzalcoatl and the founding myths of Mesoamerica. Pocket-size.