End of the World? The Story behind the Mayan Calendar
Among calendars developed on the basis of integer arithmetic, it is arguable that the Mayan calendar is perhaps the most complicated one that has ever existed. There are a myriad of ways, probably as many as seventeen, in which this calendar can be counted. Even though such methods of counting tend to be complex, the remarkable thing is that the Mayan calendar system is actually very accurate.
1. The Mayan Calendar Was Created In The Form Of A Pyramid
The Mayan people had the advantage over plenty of calendar-builders of the time, and despite the fact of having devised the concept of zero, they never studied algebra. Thus, the Mayan calendar was created at Chichén Itzá in the form the Kukulkan pyramid, which was built during the late Mayan period, around the year 1050. The pyramid has 4 stairways, each with ninety one steps and a platform on the top. This means that the pyramid has 365 steps in total just like the 365 days in a calendar year.
2. There Is Not One But Multiple Mayan Calendars
There were actually various calendars created by the Mayans based on the cosmos, some of which were created ten million years ago. However, the Haab, Tun-Uc and Tzolk’in Mayan calendars are the most relevant to human beings. The Haab Mayan calendar has 365 days just like the Gregorian calendar, along with 18 months, each consisting of 20 days. The Tun-Uc Mayan calendar is a moon calendar based on 28-day cycles, each cycle broken into four smaller ones, each consisting of 7 days. The Tzolk’in Mayan calendar is based on the numbers 13 and 20, which were sacred for the Mayans. The numbers are represented by the 13 and the glyphs and the sun are represented by the 20. Traditional Mayans in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and the Yucatan still use this calendar for divination.
3. The Calendar Long Count Method Of Counting The Mayan Calendar
The Long Count is among the more complicated ways of counting the days in the Mayan calendar. The count is referred to as the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar, the earliest form of the Gregorian Calendar that is use today. It is possible to convert a Long Count date into one number that the days until the zero data, or those passed.
4. Armageddon In The Year 2012 According To The Mayan Calendar
There had been a lot of speculation that the world would come to an end at precisely 11:11 a.m. in the year 2012. The truth behind this speculation was the fact that the Mayan Long Count calendar came to an end on December 21, 2012 on the Solstice at 11:11 a.m.. However, just like the world never came to an end, similarly December 21, 2012 did not mark the end of the Mayan calendar. Instead, the Mayan calendar started afresh with a new cycle, just like the Gregorian calendar starts all over on January 1st every year.
5. The Mayan Calendar Adopted By The Aztecs
The Mayan calendar has been adopted by various Meso-american nations, like the Aztecs, and it has been adjusted to suit their own needs. For instance, the calendar technically remained the same apart from the names of the days, weeks and months. However, a more primitive number system was used by the Aztecs and they recorded dates less precisely, which made their calendar inferior to that of the Mayans.
Despite not in use today, and having been misinterpreted as signifying the end of the world, the Mayan calendar system was definitely quite elaborate. If you were not able to visit Mexico to see the Mayan pyramids and mark the end of the cycle of the Mayan calendar, then perhaps this year you should pay a visit and take a look at the marvelous cities and sites constructed by them during their reign.
Related post: Great Places to Visit in the Middle East
Feature image by Michelle ~ BLACKY ~ CHAMPAZ’S PHOTOS.