In Classic Mayan civilization, human sacrifices were performed. I've read that there were days that were more and less auspicious for sacrifices, but I haven't been able to find out which days those were.

Which days in the Mayan calendar were most auspicious for performing sacrifices?

  • 1
    Do you want to know specifically about Maya sacrifice dates, or those of Mesoamerica in general? The ritual calendar(s) are quite detailed, with minor differences between cultures. Nov 7, 2012 at 15:54
  • @NewAlexandria, specifically Mayan dates.
    – Joe
    Nov 7, 2012 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


About the only book I have come across in looking at the Mayan Calendar, which only came from a class exercise in looking for more information on the Mayan Apocalypse, was the E.G. Richards book Mapping Time. It noted some ideas of lucky and unlucky days, as well as more on other calendar systems. Honestly I don't recall how much he covered in all of it, and some of the book comes across as more of his way of showing how much he knows about calendars. Still its one I hope to use to teach my kids about calendars at some point.

Although there is more about the Mayan Calendars regarding the Calendar Wheels a good overview from Harvard on the system but as to auspicious days much of what I have seen is more about the person than just general lucky days. In many ways its sort of like other star based systems where the conjunction of the stars and planets align and are then observed against a persons birth. From what I read before much of the practice and determination of "auspicious days" centered around Venus and its location in the Heavens, maybe its more noticable from their location or not. So if you could find a chart that noted the path of Venus across the Mayan calendar you should get your days. I haven't seen one.

You can look at Richards book on Amazon if you want a little more on it. Also, I found another online source on the Mayan Religious practices you can check out.


The ritual calendar(s) are quite detailed, with minor differences between cultures. The Maya were no special case in the following list, because the ritual calendar was more-or-less driven by the imperialism of the Aztec empire.

Simply, the 'corners of the year' (solstices and equinoxes) were the major ritual times because the sacrifices governed the prosperous / abundant transition of the seasons.

Omens were another large governor of sacrifices:

  • hurricanes,
  • volcano eruptions,
  • floods,
  • blights,
  • droughts,
  • earthquakes,
  • comets,
  • meteors,
  • eclipses, etc.

Not all sacrifices were human, and other events called for blood (cutting) or animal sacrifice. Such non-human-death sacrifices were often evoked by personal omen-istic experiences like

  • auspicious timing of personally-experienced events,
  • witnessing of clouds,
  • 'instructions' received during psychotropic medicine,
  • anthropomorphic plants, etc.

Because of the complex inter-linking of planetary calendar phases (sun, moon, venus, mars, saturn, mercury), certain calendrical intersections were times for sacrifices. Places where the count reset itself (such as the 2012 long-count incrementation) were also times for awareness.

Since many of these intersections are dictated by solar cycles, the seasons sacrifices would have had special meaning at these epagomenal times.


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