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Mayan rain god

QUESTION: Mayan rain god - Is the ancient Mayan rain god, Chac, still worshipped?

ANSWER:

Chac was a frog-like creature with protruding fangs, large round eyes, and a proboscis-like nose. He appeared as four gods, associating with the points on the compass. In addition to rain, Chac ruled over agriculture, fertility, thunder, and lightning. As a benevolent god, he chose to respond to the Mayas’ strict observance of fasting and sexual abstinence.

For a sense of the context of his importance, note that the Yucatan is a water-poor region: the soil does not hold rain well, and rain patterns are often unpredictable to begin with. During a serious drought in 1975, men gathered to speak to the rain god and plan a Chacchaak ceremony to ask for his favors.

“The men poured some of the blessed water into a bucket of more water, mixed it with ground corn, and passed gourds of the drink to all of us. ‘What is it?’ asked David. ‘Zacá, a holy drink -- a sacred drink for Chaac’ . . . the ceremony continued. As the priest prayed in Maya, young boys sat beneath the altar imitating frogs, ‘Woh, woh, rana, rana.’”1

1 Stuart, George E. and Gene S. Stuart. The Mysterious Maya. Washington, D.C., 1977. pp. 147-148, 173.

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