When most people think of the Mayans, they think end of the world prediction in 2012. Everyone knows the movie 2012 which portrayed the end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar. What many do not know is that the Mayans developed three separate calendars; the Long Count, the Tzolk’in, and the Haab, which were represented by glyphs or pictures that were used in their daily lives in many different ways. The Mayans kept time in a very different way than we do today. The Mayans may not have invented the calendar, but they certainly developed it further, and still use their version today.
Each of the Mayan calendars work together. In in the Mayan calendars time is cyclical, a set number of days has to occur before beginning a new cycle. A true Mayan calendar date includes all three calendars. The Long Count is the first part of the date. The Tzolk’n is next, followed by the Haab. The Haab calendar being the one that is linked to the actual length of a year.
The Long Count calendar, also known as the astronomical calendar, (the one that caused all the doomsday panic and prophecies) was used to cover longer periods of time. The Mayans called these long periods of time the “Universal Cycle”. The Mayans believed the universe gets destroyed and is then recreated with the beginning of each universal cycle. This belief is what fuels end of the world prophecies, especially those stemming from the Mayan calendar.
In a Long Count calendar date there are five numbers which are separated by four periods (for example, 126.96.36.199.0). 188.8.131.52.0 is thought to have been the Mayan’s theory as to the world’s creation date. The Mayans used hieroglyphs, such as those in the image,
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