The modern world went through a huge religious scare, as the so-called ‘Mayan Calendar’ ran out the clock on the world. Despite the belief of millions, the world did not end as they planned, though it says something that so many people placed their belief in a nearly extinct culture from history. It says something that this sophisticated culture has such an modern society, especially considering that most of the calendar beliefs and trust in Mayan culture came from the Mayan polytheistic religion.
Like many cultures pre-Christianity, the Mayan culture formed an organized religion around a polytheistic belief system, springing up shortly after the transition to the modern Gregorian calendar. The Mayans believed in gods that represented the different aspects of their world, and usually had both a benevolent side, as well as a malicious side. Due to their mixing of their scientific practices and religious beliefs, that means this was one of the largest organized religions at the time, with a practicing population thought over two million. Perhaps most famous about Mayan practices was the active practice of human sacrifice. The blood and heart of willing, but most often, unwilling sacrifices were supposed to nourish the gods, and keep their benevolent favor. In particular deities such as Itzamma as the creator god deserved many such sacrifices.
Like many religions, the introduction of modern Christianity spelled the downfall for the Mayan religion, as the Spanish arrived and found a civilization on decline. They were able to conquer the remaining Mayan people, and enforced their own Roman Catholic beliefs.