The priests and the nobles made up the upper class
of the Maya people. (The merchants and traders were the middle class.
The farmers and slaves were on the bottom.) The nobles ran the
government. The priests ran everything else. Some priests also held
government jobs. The nobles might have believed they were in charge, but
it was the priests who had real power.
Maya people believed their priests could talk to their gods. The priests
told the people what the gods had said. No matter what your class, there
was no arguing with the gods.
priests told the people when to plant, when to harvest, when to marry,
who to marry, when to make a personal sacrifice, how to behave, and when
to go to war. The priests were incredibly powerful.
were held every 20 days in each Maya city, to honor the many Maya gods.
The priests of each city conducted the religious part of these
festivals. They danced on the steps of the temple, wearing elaborate and
rather scary costumes, so that the people could see them communicating
with the gods.