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Maya Long Count Calendar will Click Over«Back to View Articles | Back to All Articles
What Does 21 December Mean?
12/16/2012 - Joshua Berman

The hour is upon us. This Friday at the stroke of solstice (4:12 a.m. Mountain Standard Time), the Maya Long Count calendar will “click over” to read “13.0.0.0.0,” read as, “thirteen b’aktun” — for the first time in 5,125 years.

The event has captured the world’s curiosity and imagination and this week, all eyes are pointed toward Mesoamerica: southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. So much attention being showered on the Maya people and their unique history, cosmology, and culture, presents a wonderful opportunity to ask a few questions.

What is “13 b’aktun”?

A b’aktun is a period of 144,000 days (about 393 years) in the Long Count. It is an especially important unit, “used for describing the creations of humans and of the world,” as Guatemalan writer Gaspar Pedro González says. Some historians, looking at the historical record, have argued that there is a correlation between major world events and b’aktun endings.

Thirteen is a sacred number for the Maya, so the completion of 13 b’aktuns, or 1,872,000 days, lends even more import to December 21, 2012. The fact that the Maya pegged this end date to a winter solstice (using only naked eye astronomy and taking precession into account, the earth’s leap-year-causing wobble) is, for some, additional evidence of a prophecy, or at least some kind of intention by the ancient Maya. Others are not so convinced.  Read the Entire Article HERE.


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