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Mayan World Calendar

Human beings concocted their concept of "time" by daily observing the natural phenomenon of the movement of celestial bodies, most obviously of the Sun, and have adapted their activities to this solar motion ever since. Not escaping this impulse, the Maya immersed themselves in numerology, and come up with the Mayan calendar, one of the greatest contributions to universal culture. Watching the movement of the sun every day, and perceiving the existence of an order in the firmament of which he was a part, the Maya intuited that he came from the Gods, whom he identified with the celestial bodies and the natural phenomena around him. Sensing a practical aspect to these observations, systems of calendars were devised that allowed a suitable adaptation of the heavenly order to their social system.

To have a calendar is a world-wide necessity and in this aspect the Maya has excelled: one small example is that our calendar, which is known as the Gregorian calendar, accumulates an error of one day every 4000 years, however the Mayan calendar accumulates one day every 5000 years. When this all began cannot be known exactly, nevertheless, what can be verified is that several regions of Mesoamérica were especially involved in using the Mayan calendar. The Mayan calendar, considered one of the most exact in the world, is noted for the accomplishment of using the vigesimal system of base twenty.

The Mayans made STONE monoliths, called Stela, and also handmade paper and leatherwork.


The Mayans represented numbers with a hieroglyphic system of points and bars:
a point equals one, a bar equals five and a snail is zero.

Number 19Number Zero

This use of zero represents a great discovery, because it demonstrates a deep knowledge of mathematics. Zero was used by the Maya 900 years before the Arabs brought it to Europe. The necessity of measuring astronomic cycles for practical purposes, such as questions relating to agriculture - the base of their economy - is a startling refinement to the concept of "time."

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This is a Mayan Stela as used by the ancient Maya. Represented wihin it, from top to bottom, are the LONG COUNT, the CIVIL CALENDAR and the SACRED CALENDAR, also the LUNAR CYCLE for each date.

The Maya erected Stela on their special occasions - Would you like a Stela like this with a date that represents something important to you?

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According to the Quiche Maya book "the Popol-Vuh", the world was created by the twins Hunabku and Ixbalanke by defeating the Lords of Heaven and Hell. and then the Firstborn arises, Hun-nal-ye, the God of Corn, born from the depths of the infraworld. From then on, the creators dedicate themselves to the task of completing creation, making the humans and the sun that will give them their light, life and movement.

This expression may demonstrate that Mayan cosmology is essentially an agricultural myth based on corn germination and its conversion into the body of the human being. It may also be seen as a metaphor for the domestication of corn, which allowed a sedentary lifestyle and thereby a development of culture.

In order to measure time, the Maya use three different forms of counting:
The birth of Hun-nal-ye is the first day of the long count of the Mayan calendar, and correspond to Zero Baktun, Zero Katun, Zero Tun, Zero Uinal, Zero Kin of what is known as the Long Count, the first of three different counts. This day corresponds to 11 August 3113 B.C in our calendar.

First. - THE LONG COUNT counts the days passed from the date of the beginning of their calendar, 11 of August of 3113, B.C. This is known as the long count and begins on the day Zero Baktun, Zero Katun, Zero Tun, Zero Uinal, Zero Kin. This count is made according to the following values:

Baktun = 144,000 days
Katun = 7,200 days
Tun = 360 days
Uinal = 20 days
Kin = 1 day

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Second. - The sacred calendar, the Tzolkin, uses a combination of thirteen cabalistic numbers with 20 figures of the days which gives us a value of 13x20=260 days. This it is the sacred calendar, known as the Tzolkin, which was used by the priests to make predictions, horoscopes, and religious celebrations. Some investigators suggest this calendar has its origin in preclassic center of Izapan in the state of Chiapas. In this site, the sun passes through the zenith the 11 of August and following with the course of the calendar east phenomenon of the 29 of April is repeated; if we counted the days passed between these two dates, it gives 260 days us that is the duration of the Tzolkin. This system to tell to era normal for the common population and the names of the 20 days is: Imix, Ik, Akbal, Kan, Chicchan, Cimi, Manik, Lamat, Muluc, Oc, Chuen, Eb, Horseradish tree, Ix, Men, Cib, Caban, Edznab, Cauac and Ahau.



The day of beginning corresponding to the 11 de agosto of 3113 the 4 A.C. Ahua Is

Third. - They handled a well-known civil calendar like Haab, to which only the ruling class had access, and that was used for astronomy and the agricultural cycles. This calendar has eighteen months of 20 days and then an extra short month of five days. The names of these months are: Pop, Uo, Zip, Zotz, Tzec, Xul, Yaxkin, Mol, Ch`chen, Yax, Zac, Chen, Mac, Kankin, Muan, Pax, Kayab, Cumku, and Uayeb.

The first day, 11 of August of 3113 A.C. corresponds to 8 Cumku.

In order to determine the name of a day, the Maya use a combination of both calendars, so our Gregorian date of 11 de agosto of 3113 A.C., corresponds to 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku and is repeated until 18980 days have passed, that is to say, 73 cycles of the 260 day "Tzolkin" or 52 cycles of the 365 day "Haab".

The end of this cycle was celebrated by the New Fire Ceremony of the and towards the renovation of diverse utensils.
Quarter. - They take the registry of I compute spot

in summary: the form to identify the date of beginning 11 of August of 3113 A.C. is zero Baktun, zero Katun, zero Uinal, zero kin, 4 Ahau 8 Cumku which are expressed thus: 4 Ahau 8 Cumku


Important dates were engraved in tall slabs of stone, in handmade paper or in deer skin. The first glyph at the top is the introductory sign known as the Alautun, within this is the figure of the protective "saint" of the month corresponding to the civil calendar. Later, the sequence of the number of Baktunes, Katunes, Tunes, Uinales and Kines, then come below the combinations of the sacred calendar and civil calendar, and last of all the glyph of the lunar cycle.

Baktunes or "Era", equivalent to 51'253,661 years tropical took to a linear account within a period of 13. The period of 13 Baktunes that we have ourselves at the moment began the 11 de agosto of 3113 A.C. and will finish the 23 of December of the 2012.

We completed the information supporting to us in a contained chronological data in the Pág. 66 of the Oxkutzcab chronicle document yucateco of century XVII. According to this, day 3 of November 1539 (corresponding to the 13 of November according to the gregoriana correction) 11 was fulfilled 16 Baktunes and Katunes from the beginning of the Mayan era (1´699,200 days) and the corresponding date the sacred calendar and 13 the civil calendar is 8 Ahau Xul.

The idea of a new era, is that on the 21st of December of 2012, when "the 13th Era" begins, the Mayan date is 13 Baktun, zero Katun, zero Uinal, zero Kin. Or it could be said that after the 12th Baktun comes the equivalent of "Baktun Zero of the New Era". This means that a new era is opened: everything goes back to zero - zero Baktun, zero Katun, zero Tun, zero Uinal, zero Kin.

It appears the Maya raised their Stela every five, ten and twenty years, and also for special celebrations. Now, with the aid of computers, research continues into the meaning of Mayan hieroglyphics, making significant advances upon the works of Linda Schele and Michael Coe.