Statue of a dignitary, Vera Cruz culture, 200-500 AD.
200 - 900
Other vases found show sculpted objects referring to cocoa beans, while other recipients look similar to the cocoa pod itself.
The planting of the cocoa seeds and harvesting of the cocoa pods
were related to very important and religious rituals in the Mayan
society. They offered fruits, feathers and animals to the god of
fertility (Hobnil), the god of rain (Chac) and the god of cocoa
(Ek Chuah) to please them and get a good harvest in turn.
Cup with picture of Chac, the god of rain, 500 AD
One of the ancient Mayan mythical “bibles” Popl Vuh tells the
creation stories, the sagas and victories of the Mayans and often
refers to cocoa. It tells the story of the divine twins that have
freed the world from the terror of the demons. Illustrations of
these legends and the tales about the twin brothers have been
found: they show the twins offering vases with cocoa to the god D.
Also the holy Mayan book of Chilam Balam refers to the cocoa
tree: it symbolizes the sacred tree that was planted in the days of
the “Dark Age” to indicate the four directions of the wind before
the coming of Light.
It also was used in the Mayan, and later the Aztec culture in several composite words like nocacau (my money) or mocacau (your money). The Spanish retained the word cacau since it was clear that it was linked to the subject being exchanged: the cocoa bean. Therefore the Spanish were convinced that the name cacau was related to the plant species cocoa.