Monday, June 01, 2009
Underdogishere's Fourth Annual Welcome to Hurricane Season
Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while (I think there's one of you) may remember that I have an annual tradition called the Renaming of the Storms. It started in 2006, when I realized that the official system of naming hurricanes is boring and just plain lacking in imagination. Since then I've been proposing alternative names, each sharing a common theme. We've had the Season of Cheeses (2006), the Season of Greek Gods (2007), and the Season of Flowers (2008). (Click here to see my previous hurricane-related posts.) My names are designed to be not only interesting, but educational. And this year's group promises to be the most educational and thought-provoking yet:
Ladies and gentlemen, on this, the first day of the 2009 Hurricane Season, I bring you...
...The Season of Mayan Gods.
The Mayans had a really startling pantheon -- startling at least to those of us reared on tamer European gods. But the Mayan gods are an especially appropriate choice, because the word hurricane is derived from the name of their god of gale force winds, Huracan, who also represents H on this year's list.
I've included what these were gods (or goddesses) of, and many make great hurricane names -- check out Muan, "messenger bearing unwelcome tidings," for example. And after the hurricane is past, you can always de-stress with Ekchauh, god of chocolate.
Here we go:
Acan (wine and intoxicating beverages), Bacabs (four giant brothers who hold up the four corners of the sky), Chiccan (four rain serpents -- Gods of Rain), Dubdo (corn), Ekchuah (chocolate), Frog-God (frogs?), Gucumatz (agriculture), Huracan (gale force winds, root of our word hurricane), Ixpiyacoc (creator), Jurupari (a god from the Tupi people of the Amazon: tried and failed to create a totally male-dominated world), Kawil (lightning and fire), Lahunpel (sacrifices), Muan (messenger bearing unwelcome tidings), Ndoyet (death and sacred objects), Oxlahuntiku (thirteen-gods-in-one of the Upper World), Pichana-Gobeche (healing), Quiabelagayo (pleasure and pain), Ramac (an Inca god: "He who speaks"), Sotz (bats), Tohil (fire), Uayeb (five unlucky days), Votan (warfare and death), Wonomi (from the Maidu people of California: creator), Xquic ("Miss Blood"), Yaluk (lightning), Zipacna (Earth's crust)
I wasn't happy with F (Frog-God -- apparently the Mayan name for him is unknown), but that was the only F I had. Also, I had to raid other Native American cultures for J (Tupis), I (Incas), and W (Maidus), because the Mayans didn't have any good candidates of their own. But aside from that, how great is Uayeb -- god of five unlucky days? I've been through hurricanes like that. And isn't it interesting that the same god, Quiabelagayo, is the god of both pleasure and pain? I can see lots of interesting discussions in classrooms all along the Florida penninsular and the Gulf Coast. Also interesting pronounciations -- exactly how do you say Xquic anyway?
Many thanks to the awesome Web site God Checker, which documents thousands of gods, goddesses, and god-lets from scores of religions and cultures. Check them out while you wait for Hurricane Acan, and, oh, by the way, be sure to stock up on hurricane supplies like wine and intoxicating spirits!
Aren't frogs very common in central america? I can see where they would have their own god. I would not be surprised to find that the religions of this area had a mosquito god or a black fly god. Heck, I'd even make a sacrifice to keep 'em happy.