Polytheism in the Americas
The people who lived in South and Central America before 1500 were polytheistic – they believed in many different gods. Because they lived pretty near one another, and ate many of the same foods, some of their gods were pretty much the same.
The Mayan Corn God, for example, had a matching Aztec god too. But other gods and stories were different from culture to culture.
Animal sacrifice in the Americas
All of the Central American and South American religious traditions involved animal sacrifice, and in some cases also human sacrifice. This, too, was like other religions around the world. Human sacrifice seems to have been common everywhere in the world in the Bronze Age. Slowly animal sacrifice replaced it. Then slowly sacrifices of incense and flowers replaced that, or the Christian Communion ritual. But in early Central America and South America, they were doing human and animal sacrifices.
Astronomy and religion
These religions, like other religions in other parts of the world, also used astronomy to figure out when to hold some of their religious ceremonies. Other ceremonies happened in the appropriate season. The Green Corn Ceremony, for example, was held when the corn was ripe, around the beginning of summer in most Central American and South American climates.