Living the stories of the Popol Vuh, the Sacred Book of the Maya
The 4th and 5th grade class heard the stories from the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya. The stories really resonated with them, so their teacher Karin felt inspired to write a script based on a modern version of the book. The Class Play allowed the children to really take on the personalities of the characters, and have a personal experience with the mythology. The first half of the play takes us from the Creation Myth to the adventures of the Hero Twins. The second half takes place in Xibalbá, the Underworld of Mayan Cosmology, and ends with the Creation of the Human Beings of Corn.
The performance was a great success, an experience which we will always remember, and a shining moment for Escuela Caracol.
Thanks to everybody who helped and supported this undertaking!
As part of our studies of the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, we took a field trip to Sololá, the department’s capital. The class, accompanied by several parents and a visiting Waldorf teacher from Germany, took a boat and a bus up the mountain to get there. We were invited to see a private rehearsal of the Sotz’il Jay group, amidst the corn fields on the slopes of Lake Atitlan.
Sotz’il Jay means the House of the Bats, and is a renowned group of Maya Kaq’chikel artists and performers. They keep their traditions alive by deeply exploring Mayan Cosmology, talking to elders of the community, making masks and musical instruments using natural materials, and choreographing dances which convey the essence of their cultural heritage.
Watching the rehearsal and getting a tour of the House of the Bats, was an unforgettable experience for the children who were deeply moved and inspired by what they saw.
As part of our preparation for the Class Play and our studies on Mayan Mythology, we had the privilege of having special guests visit our school. They were two players from the team of Mayan ballgame from the neighbouring village of San Juan. Their team is actually second place nationally and they were kind enough to put together a presentation for our 4th and 5th grade class.
The Mayan (or Mesoamerican) ballgame is an important part of Mayan history and mythology, with important ritual aspects. Seeing it come to life in our own school was really something special. The players brought the heavy rubber ball, the scoring rings and the traditional attire, and gave us a demonstration along with drumming and chanting. They talked to us about the rules of the game, the history and mythology of which it is part, and the symbolism of duality of night and day, represented by the rising and falling of the ball.
To finish this deep immersion into the sacred Popol Vuh, teacher and students used their imagination to created beautiful pieces of art.