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Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, by Diego de Landa, tr. William Gates, [1937], at


In the year whose dominical letter was Ix and the augury Sac-sini, after the election of the president for the celebration of the festival, they made an image of the demon called Sac-uvayeyab, and carried it to the piles of stone at the North, where they had left the other one the year before. They then made a statue of the god Itzamná and set that in the president's house, then all together, with the roadway prepared, they went devoutly to the image of Sac-uvayeyab. On arrival they offered incense in the usual way, cut of the head of a fowl, and placed the image on a wooden stand called Sac-hia, and then carried it ceremoniously and with dances they called alcab-tan kam-ahau* They brought to the road the usual drinks, and on arriving at the house they set this image before the statue of Itzamná, and there made their offerings, and distributed them; to the
statue of Sac-uvayeyab they offered the head of a turkey, patés of quail with other things, and their drink.

Others drew blood and with it anointed the stone of the demon Sac-acantun, and they then kept the idols as they had done the year before, offering them incense until the last day. Then they carried Itzamná to the temple and Sac-uvayeyab to the place of the West to leave him there to be gotten the next year.

The evils the Indians feared for the ensuing year if they were negligent in these ceremonies were loss of strength, fainting and ailments of the eyes; it

p. 66

was held a bad year for bread and a good one for cotton. And this year bearing the dominical Ix, and which the Bacab Sac-sini ruled, they held an ill-omened, with many evils destined to occur; for they said there would he great shortage of water, many hot spells that would wither the maize fields, from which would follow great hunger, and from the hunger thefts, and from the thefts slavery for those who had incurred that penalty therefor. From this would come great discords, among themselves or with other towns. They also said that this year would bring changes in the rule of the chiefs or the priests, because of he wars and discords.

Another prognostic was that some men who should seek to become chiefs would fail in their aim. They also said that the locusts would come, and depopulate many of their towns through famine. What the evil one ordained that they should do to avert these ills, some or all of which were due to fall on them, was to make an idol of Kinch-ahau Itzamná, which they should put in the temple, where they should burn incense and make many offerings and prayers to the god, together with the drawing of their blood for the anointing of the stone of the demon Sac-acantun. They danced much, and the old women danced as was their custom; in this festival they also built a new oratorio for the demon, or else renewed the old, and gathered there for sacrifices and offerings to him, all going through a solemn revel; for this festival was general and obligatory. There were some very devout persons who of their own volition made another idol like the above, and placed it in other temples, where they made offerings and revels. These revels and sacrifices were held to be very acceptable to the idols, and as remedial for freeing them from the ills indicated as to come.


65:* This may be rendered: "Hasten to receive the Lord."

Next: XXXVIII. Sacrifices of the New Year of the Letter Cauac. The Evils Prophesied and Their Remedy in the Dance of the Fire