The Maya ball game in Merida

By Free_Walking_Tour_Mexico | May 19, 2019
North America > Mexico > Yucatan > Merida

Maya Ball Game

Maya Ball Game

If you come to Merida on saturday night you can enjoy the re-enactment of the traditional maya ball game on saturday night at the Main Plaza. There are two teams like in the most common sports and tha ball can be played in some cases with a stick and in other styles with the shoulders, the arms or the hips and it is not allowed to use neither the hands nor the feet. The pourpouse of the game is to get the ball through a ring stone and whoever does this scores a point and wins the game because it is quite complicated to do it and in many cases any team achieves this goal. The ball is made with the rubber obtained from the tropical tree known as "caucho" and it is hard to keep the control of it while it is bouncing.

According to the maya legend transmitted through the Popol Vuh the game was originally created by the god Hun and his brother Vucub who were extraordinary players because they were all the time practicing it. The constant bouncing of the ball on the ground disturbed the gods of the death that live in the underworld. That is the reason why these evil gods decided to challenge the two brothers to play a match against them, but this was just a trick to get rid of them, because as soon as the siblings arrived to the ballcourt they were beheaded and their heads were buried deeply in the soil. That is exactly what happened with the people who lost the game at Chichen Itzá, they were sacrificied and their heads were thrown into the holy cenote.

The human heads were considered by the ancient maya people as seeds that fertilized the soil, therefore this kind of sacrifices was a way to guarantee good harvest during the year.
You do not need to be afraid, nowadays this game is just a show for tourist and locals here in Mérida

History Maya

Share this tip:

Written by Free_Walking_Tour_Mexico
Hi, we are Free Walking Tour Mexico the best and low cost option to travel to the top cities of Mexico, we are here because we like to give people advises of what to do where to eat and what to avoid to have and unforgetable experience in our country. We take people for walks in the main cities like, Mexico city, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Merida and many others. We believe that this is not only the best way to get to start knowing a new city, but also to make new friends in the way!

Thoughts? Questions?

See also


Tours and activities

Mexico City Food & Cultural Tour

Experience one of the most magical neighborhoods in Mexico City, walk around beautiful cobbled streets. Go back in time and feel the charm of the colonial era, a neighborhood full of history, with lovely churches, monasteries and plazas. Between delicious food samples, you’ll visit cultural, religious and historic landmarks.

The Ultimate Mazatlan Tour

Explore the oldest neighborhoods in town and discover Mazatlan's unique and vibrant soul. Exclusive access to our beloved baseball stadium. Wrap the day up with a picnic at Olas Altas beach where we are going to relax, go for a swim and play some games with your local leader.

Coronavirus Information & Resources