THE MAYANS HAD TWO MONKEY GODS
For the Maya of the Americas, the twin monkey gods were important gods of the arts and patrons of artisans like scribes and sculptors.
One of the stories of their origins involves the Hero Twins – the central characters in the oldest Maya legend recorded in full. The twins faced many trials, including defeating the lords of the Underworld in a game to avenge their father and killing demons before transforming into the Sun and the Moon.
When they were growing up the Hero Twins lived with their two older half-brothers, who were unkind to them. These boys wanted to be respected as great craftsmen and feared that the new arrivals would steal their attention, so they tried several times to kill them and later made them do chores while they played and relaxed.
One day, the Hero Twins tricked their siblings into climbing a tree that grew until they could not come down. The loincloths they had been wearing turned into long tails, and the brothers turned into a spider monkey and a howler monkey. Because of the different personalities and behaviours of these species, the spider monkey came to be associated with kindness, laughter and joy, while the howler monkey represented duty, seriousness and hard work.
Rituals with costumes and dancing have recreated the story for centuries, and festivities like this are still taking place in Central America today to preserve and celebrate Maya culture.
Maya statue was discovered in Honduras and is potentially a representation of the howler monkey god