The Postclassic Yucatec New Year Ceremony as a Rite de Passage

Tozzer (1941), Love (1986: 169-171) and Taube (1988: 272-273) have proposed that Landa outline three different rites, which took place during the New Year festival. This is the five-day Wayeb ceremony celebrating the ending of the year followed by renewal and renovation ceremonies for the coming year on the first day of Pohp and ceremonies to avoid calamities during Pohp (Tozzer 1941: 139, note 650). This ritual structure has been analysed by Love (Love 1986: 169-204). But Love put forward a rather confusing chronology of the ritual events. He begins by outlining the renewal ceremonies in the veintena of Pohp, continues with a description of the ritual proceedings of the first day of Pohp and eventually dedicates the largest part of his analysis to the Wayeb ceremonies of the previous 365-day calendar year (Love 1986: 169-204). Taube has categorised the postclassic Yucatec New Year Ceremony as a rite de passage:

In terms of van Gennep’s tripartite schema, the initial period of separation corresponds to the death of the year, this being the termination of Cumku, the last twenty day month. The liminal period of transition is the five day Wayeb period, with the period of incorporation being the first of Pop, or the beginning of the year (Taube 1988: 12).

But can the ritual theoretical model of a rite de passage be employed to analyse and explain the temporal practices of a calendar?

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