Our Grandparents, Lords of Time and the Earth
Updated: Feb 21, 2021
The Mam people are the most ancient of the Maya people and today are one of the four largest groups of Maya in Guatemala. They live in Guatemala's departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Retalhuleu, and San Marcos, as well as in several towns of Chiapas, Mexico.
Among the principal contributions of the Mam people to Mesoamerican civilization were:
· the domestication of corn, rubber, cocoa, and various roots such as yucca
· the art of conserving fish and meat
· the knowledge and practice of traditional medicine based on the local flora and fauna, noting more than a thousand plants and animal-based products.
The symbol of the Mam people is the glyph that corresponds to the day B’e, which signifies "path" in the sense of a journey guided by the ancestors and elders, as well as destiny.
The people of B’e are good people, eager to do favors for others, not selfish, and willing to share their wealth with the community. They are known as travelers and migrants. They make good Maya priests, showing the path to other people, guiding them and petitioning for their needs.
The cosmovision of the Mam people is based on harmony with nature and the intimate relation that man has with the earth and the cosmos. Although Mother Earth does not belong to them, the Mam people love her and work the land with the care and love of parents for their children.
Different ceremonies demonstrate this respect for mountains, volcanoes, and rivers. In addition, there are ceremonies that surround the various stages in the growth cycle of corn, from planting to cutting the first ears, and ceremonies to ask permission of Mother Earth to cut down a tree in order to build a house, or to plant crops.
In moments of persecution or death, the majority of Mam people prefer to seek refuge and help in the heart of Mother Earth, fleeing into the mountains and forests as a way to defend their life and the life of Mother Earth.