The Religious Quality and Order of Ritual Practice of Time

A calendar is not only a chronometrically instrument. The quality or ontology, i.e. the religious significance and meaning, of time has extraordinary importance, as opposed to the quantity of time or scientific time where calendar time is simply abstract mathematical duration with no historical, socio-political, economic, astronomical, philosophical or religious associations. We shall see that rituals of (calendar) time were observed in order to bring the preternatural and human into harmony and order (i.e. structure) accordingly overcoming symbolically a temporal anti-structural chaos.

The Ritual Symbolic Temporal Importance of the 260-day Calendar

I argue that among the numerous Mesoamerican calendars there is one predominant calendar. This is the 260-day calendar, which mathematically and religiously has a particular significance in Mesoamerican temporal philosophy and practices. In addition, in various manners it is intimately related to and decides the meaning of the Long Count calendar, the 365-calendar and the 52-year calendar.

Structure of the Book The structure of the book comprises five parts:

I. The ritual practices of time of the Long Count calendar of the classic Maya civilisation.

II. The ritual practice of time of the 260-day calendar of the postclassic Yucatec civilisation: The Burner Ceremonies of quadripartite 65-day intervals.

III. The ritual practice of time of the 365-day calendar of the postclassic Yucatec civilisation.

IV. The ritual practice of time of the 52-year calendar of the postclassic Aztecs civilisation.

V. A comparative analysis of the ritual practice of time.

Each part can be read independently. Part V summarises the major theoretical issues addressed in parts I—IV in a comparative manner. In addition, chapter 8 of part V examines the limited information of the existence of rituals of time of different calendars simultaneously performed within a single culture.

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