STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Mayan ball game in Mexico

CNC
Added On March 9, 2018

If you think football, baseball and cricket are difficult, check out the Mesoamerican ball game.  
 
To commemorate the foundation's 60th anniversary, La Venta Park Museum organised a special event for participants to play the game. 
 
The game is played with a 3-kilogram ball, which represents the sun. Then the ball is passed between opposing teams using elbows, knees, and hips.  
 
Absolutely no other parts of the body can be used.
 
Teams can have up to five players, and participants and dancers dress up in colorful attire. The outfits are typically made from deer and jaguar pelt, exotic bird feathers and vegetable dye.  
 
The Mayan ball, or quiche, is made from solid rubber. In the Mayan language, this means the sap of the tree. 
 
In Mayan culture, the game was much more than just a fun way to spend a day. It was part of a ritual where participants displayed their physical aptitudes to honor the gods.  
 
SOUNDBITE(Spanish): ARTURO HERNANDEZ, Coordinator of the Mesoamerican Mukliba Chan
"They wore a piece of leather that covers the thigh to the bone, then a belt that, due to the weight of the 3 kilogram ball and combined with the force of 15 kilometers per hour, has a force of 60 to 70 kilos on impact. That belt was for protection from rupture or hernias."
 
SOUNDBITE(Spanish): LETICIA ARIAS, Tourist
"Wow, how wonderful to experience this!  It's something to remember and to experience. It is divine. Now that our children don't know it, and me neither, but it's nice to see it and see how they dance and paint themselves. It's an authentic thing, what we've seen--very nice!"
 
The athletic clubs are currently working across 16 different Mexican states. They are trying to promote the game among children and young people.