Did Aztecs practice human sacrifice? Yes, and so did the Incan and Mayan people. These three Mesoamerican cultures all practiced different forms of human sacrifice for religious reasons.
The Aztec religion included the belief that the sun god, Huitzilopochtli, needed human blood so that the sun would continue its journey in the sky. Both volunteers and prisoners of war found themselves sacrificed for the god.
Both the Aztec and Mayan played a ball game that differed a little between the cultures but was a religious ritual for both. And for both the Aztec and Mayan, you didn't want to lose--losers lost a lot more than just the game. Learn about the game at http://chichenitzaruins.org/mayan-ball-game/
Incan priests practiced divination, a ritual to answer questions or to tell the future. Incan divination involved offerings of food and drink to the gods, but also animals and people. The young members of society were valued as sacrifices, which happened in sacred places high in the mountains, closer to the sky gods. One young woman who died hundreds of years ago was found in 1995. She was named Juanita and also is known as the Ice Maiden Mummy.
You can find out more about sacrifices and the ties to religion by going to Student Resources in Context or UXL Encyclopedia of Mythology. Search for "inca mythology," "aztec mythology," or "maya mythology" to learn about the gods, myths and ceremonies. You'll need your Multnomah County Library card if you are outside the library.
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