For years scholars have observed the ability of the Maya to continue traditions and rituals connecting them to their historical past. As the title of Allen Christenson's most recent work states, in many ways the contemporary Maya bear “the burden of the ancients,” particularly in their ceremonies of world renewal. Christenson's work among the Guatemalan Maya stems from his extensive fieldwork and knowledge of the languages, including K'iche’ and Tz'utujil. His experience among the Maya allows his current work to reveal in new ways how contemporary Maya, particularly the Tz'utujil community of Santiago Atitlán, continue world-renewing rites today that date back to the pre-Columbian era. Indeed, employing a wide range of documentation, from ancient Maya art and sculpture to Spanish and indigenous colonial accounts and modern ethnographic observations, he argues that world renewal ceremonies associated with the pre-Columbian Wayeb’—or the five final...

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