Maya calendar

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The Maya calendar is a system of calendars used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and in many modern communities in the Guatemalan highlands, [1] Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico. [2]


The essentials of the Maya calendar are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 5th century BC. It shares many aspects with calendars employed by other earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotec and Olmec and contemporary or later ones such as the Mixtec and Aztec calendars. [3]

By the Maya mythological tradition, as documented in Colonial Yucatec accounts and reconstructed from Late Classic and Postclassic inscriptions, the deity Itzamna is frequently credited with bringing the knowledge of the calendrical system to the ancestral Maya, along with writing in general and other foundational aspects of Mayan culture. [4]


The Maya calendar consists of several cycles or counts of different lengths. The 260-day count is known to scholars as the Tzolkin , or Tzolkʼin. [5] The Tzolkin was combined with a 365-day vague solar year known as the Haabʼ to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haabʼ called the Calendar Round. The Calendar Round is still in use by many groups in the Guatemalan highlands. [6]

A different calendar was used to track longer periods of time and for the inscription of calendar dates (i.e., identifying when one event occurred in relation to others). This is the Long Count. It is a count of days since a mythological starting-point. [7] According to the correlation between the Long Count and Western calendars accepted by the great majority of Maya researchers (known as the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, or GMT, correlation), this starting-point is equivalent to August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6, in the Julian calendar (−3113 astronomical). The GMT correlation was chosen by John Eric Sydney Thompson in 1935 on the basis of earlier correlations by Joseph Goodman in 1905 (August 11), Juan Martínez Hernández in 1926 (August 12) and Thompson himself in 1927 (August 13). [8] By its linear nature, the Long Count was capable of being extended to refer to any date far into the past or future. This calendar involved the use of a positional notation system, in which each position signified an increasing multiple of the number of days. The Maya numeral system was essentially vigesimal (i.e., base-20) and each unit of a given position represented 20 times the unit of the position which preceded it. An important exception was made for the second-order place value, which instead represented 18 × 20, or 360 days, more closely approximating the solar year than would 20 × 20 = 400 days. The cycles of the Long Count are independent of the solar year.

Many Maya Long Count inscriptions contain a supplementary series, which provides information on the lunar phase, number of the current lunation in a series of six and which of the nine Lords of the Night rules.

Less-prevalent or poorly understood cycles, combinations and calendar progressions were also tracked. An 819-day Count is attested in a few inscriptions. Repeating sets of 9 days (see below "Nine lords of the night") [9] associated with different groups of deities, animals and other significant concepts are also known.


The tzolkʼin (in modern Maya orthography; also commonly written tzolkin) is the name commonly employed by Mayanist researchers for the Maya Sacred Round or 260-day calendar. The word tzolkʼin is a neologism coined in Yucatec Maya, to mean "count of days" (Coe 1992). The various names of this calendar as used by precolumbian Maya people are still debated by scholars. The Aztec calendar equivalent was called Tōnalpōhualli , in the Nahuatl language.

The tzolkʼin calendar combines twenty day names with the thirteen day numbers to produce 260 unique days. It is used to determine the time of religious and ceremonial events and for divination. Each successive day is numbered from 1 up to 13 and then starting again at 1. Separately from this, every day is given a name in sequence from a list of 20 day names:

Tzolkʼin calendar: named days and associated glyphs
Num. 1
Name 2
example 3
Yucatec 4
Classic Maya 5
Num. 1
Name 2
example 3
Yucatec 4
Classic Maya 5
01Imix MAYA-g-log-cal-D01-Imix.png ImixImoxImix (?) / Haʼ (?)11Chuwen MAYA-g-log-cal-D11-Chuwen.png ChuenBʼatzʼ(unknown)
02Ikʼ MAYA-g-log-cal-D02-Ik.png IkIqʼIkʼ12Ebʼ MAYA-g-log-cal-D12-Eb.png Eb(unknown)
03Akʼbʼal MAYA-g-log-cal-D03-Akbal.png AkbalAqʼabʼalAkʼbʼal (?)13Bʼen MAYA-g-log-cal-D13-Ben.png BenAjC'klab[ clarification needed ]
04Kʼan MAYA-g-log-cal-D04-Kan.png KanKʼatKʼan (?)14Ix MAYA-g-log-cal-D14-Ix.png IxIʼx, BalamHix (?)
05Chikchan MAYA-g-log-cal-D05-Chikchan.png ChicchanKan(unknown)15Men MAYA-g-log-cal-D15-Men.png MenTzikin(unknown)
06Kimi MAYA-g-log-cal-D06-Kimi.png CimiKameCham (?)16Kʼibʼ MAYA-g-log-cal-D16-Kib.png CibAjmaq(unknown)
07Manikʼ MAYA-g-log-cal-D07-Manik.png ManikKejManichʼ (?)17Kabʼan MAYA-g-log-cal-D17-Kaban.png CabanNoʼjChabʼ (?)
08Lamat MAYA-g-log-cal-D08-Lamat.png LamatQʼanilEkʼ (?)18Etzʼnabʼ MAYA-g-log-cal-D18-Etznab.png EtznabTijax(unknown)
09Muluk MAYA-g-log-cal-D09-Muluk.png MulucToj(unknown)19Kawak MAYA-g-log-cal-D19-Kawak.png CauacKawoq(unknown)
10Ok MAYA-g-log-cal-D10-Ok.png OcTzʼiʼ(unknown)20Ajaw MAYA-g-log-cal-D20-Ajaw.svg AhauAjpuAjaw
  1. The sequence number of the named day in the Tzolkʼin calendar
  2. Day name, in the standardized and revised orthography of the Guatemalan Academia de Lenguas Mayas [5]
  3. An example glyph (logogram) for the named day. Note that for most of these several different forms are recorded; the ones shown here are typical of carved monumental inscriptions (these are "cartouche" versions)
  4. Day name, as recorded from 16th-century Yucatec Maya accounts, principally Diego de Landa; this orthography has (until recently) been widely used
  5. In most cases, the actual day name as spoken in the time of the Classic Period (c. 200–900) when most inscriptions were made is not known. The versions given here (in Classic Maya, the main language of the inscriptions) are reconstructed on the basis of phonological evidence, if available; a '?' symbol indicates the reconstruction is tentative. [10]

Some systems started the count with 1 Imix, followed by 2 Ikʼ, 3 Akʼbʼal, etc. up to 13 Bʼen. The day numbers then start again at 1 while the named-day sequence continues onwards, so the next days in the sequence are 1 Ix, 2 Men, 3 Kʼibʼ, 4 Kabʼan, 5 Etzʼnabʼ, 6 Kawak and 7 Ajaw. With all twenty named days used, these now began to repeat the cycle while the number sequence continues, so the next day after 7 Ajaw is 8 Imix. The repetition of these interlocking 13- and 20-day cycles therefore takes 260 days to complete (that is, for every possible combination of number/named day to occur once).

The earliest known inscription with a Tzolkʼin is an Olmec earspool with 2 Ahau 3 Ceh -, September 2, -678 (Julian astronomical). [11]


Haabʼ months: names and glyphs [12] in sequence
Classic Period

glyph sign

Meaning of glyph
Reconstructed Classic Maya
1Pop 1 pop.png Maya months - 0 - Pop.svg k'anjalaw
2Woʼ 2 uo haab.png Maya months - 1 - Wo.svg ik'at
3Sip 3 sip.png Maya months - 2 - Sip.svg chakat
4Sotzʼ 4 zotz.png Maya-months-03-sotz'.svg batsotz'
5Sek 5 tzec.png Maya months - 4 - Sek.svg kaseew
6Xul 6 xul.png Maya-months-05-xul.svg chikin
7Yaxkʼin 7 yaxkin.png Maya months - 6 - Yaxk'in.svg yaxk'in
8Mol 8 mol.png Maya months - 7 - Mol.svg mol
9Chʼen 9 chen.png Maya-months-08-ch'en.svg black [14] ik'siho'm
10Yax 10 yax.png Maya-months-09-yax.svg green [14] yaxsiho'm
11Sak 11 zac.png Maya-months-10-sak.svg white [14] saksiho'm
12Keh 12 ceh.png Maya-months-11-kej.svg red [14] chaksiho'm
13Mak 13 mac.png Maya-months-12-mak.svg mak
14Kʼankʼin 14 kankin.png Maya-months-13-k'ank'in.svg uniiw
15Muwan 15 muan.png Maya-months-14-muwan.svg muwaan
16Pax 16 pax.png Maya-months-15-pax.svg paxiil
17Kʼayab 17 kayab.png Maya-months-16-k'ayab'.svg k'anasiiy
18Kumkʼu 18 cumhu.png Maya-months-17-kumk'u.svg ohl
19Wayebʼ 19 uayeb.png Maya-months-18-wayeb'.svg five unlucky dayswayhaab

The Haabʼ was made up of eighteen months of twenty days each plus a period of five days ("nameless days") at the end of the year known as Wayeb' (or Uayeb in 16th-century orthography). The five days of Wayebʼ were thought to be a dangerous time. Foster (2002) writes, "During Wayeb, portals between the mortal realm and the Underworld dissolved. No boundaries prevented the ill-intending deities from causing disasters." To ward off these evil spirits, the Maya had customs and rituals they practiced during Wayebʼ. For example, people avoided leaving their houses and washing or combing their hair. Bricker (1982) estimates that the Haabʼ was first used around 550 BC with a starting point of the winter solstice. [15]

The Haabʼ month names are known today by their corresponding names in colonial-era Yukatek Maya, as transcribed by 16th-century sources (in particular, Diego de Landa and books such as the Chilam Balam of Chumayel). Phonemic analyses of Haabʼ glyph names in pre-Columbian Maya inscriptions have demonstrated that the names for these twenty-day periods varied considerably from region to region and from period to period, reflecting differences in the base language(s) and usage in the Classic and Postclassic eras predating their recording by Spanish sources. [16]

Each day in the Haabʼ calendar was identified by a day number in the month followed by the name of the month. Day numbers began with a glyph translated as the "seating of" a named month, which is usually regarded as day 0 of that month, although a minority treat it as day 20 of the month preceding the named month. In the latter case, the seating of Pop is day 5 of Wayebʼ. For the majority, the first day of the year was 0 Pop (the seating of Pop). This was followed by 1 Pop, 2 Pop as far as 19 Pop then 0 Wo, 1 Wo and so on.

Because the Haabʼ had 365 days and the tropical year is 365.2422 days, the days of the Haabʼ did not coincide with the tropical year.

Calendar Round

A Calendar Round date is a date that gives both the Tzolkʼin and Haabʼ. This date will repeat after 52 Haabʼ years or 18,980 days, a Calendar Round. For example, the current creation started on 4 Ahau 8 Kumkʼu. When this date recurs it is known as a Calendar Round completion.

Arithmetically, the duration of the Calendar Round is the least common multiple of 260 and 365; 18,980 is 73 × 260 Tzolkʼin days and 52 × 365 Haabʼ days. [17]

Not every possible combination of Tzolkʼin and Haabʼ can occur. For Tzolkʼin days Imix, Kimi, Chuwen and Kibʼ, the Haabʼ day can only be 4, 9, 14 or 19; for Ikʼ, Manikʼ, Ebʼ and Kabʼan, the Haabʼ day can only be 0, 5, 10 or 15; for Akbʼalʼ, Lamat, Bʼen and Etzʼnabʼ, the Haabʼ day can only be 1, 6, 11 or 16; for Kʼan, Muluk, Ix and Kawak, the Haabʼ day can only be 2, 7, 12 or 17; and for Chikchan, Ok, Men and Ajaw, the Haabʼ day can only be 3, 8, 13 or 18. [18]

Year Bearer

A "Year Bearer" is a Tzolkʼin day name that occurs on 0 Pop, the first day of the Haabʼ. Since there are 20 Tzolkʼin day names, 365 days in the Haabʼ, and the remainder of 365 divided by 20 is 5 (365 = 18×20 + 5), the Tzolkʼin day name for each successive 0 Pop will be 5 later in the cycle of Tzolk'in day names. Similarly, since there are 13 Tzolk'in day numbers, and the remainder of 365 divided by 13 is 1 (365 = 28×13 + 1), the Tzolk'in day number for each successive 0 Pop will be 1 greater than before. As such, the sequence of Tzolk'in dates corresponding to the Haab' date 0 Pop are as follows:

  • 1 Ikʼ
  • 2 Manikʼ
  • 3 Ebʼ
  • 4 Kabʼan
  • 5 Ikʼ
  • ...
  • 19 Eb'
  • 20 Kab'an
  • 1 Ik'
  • ...

Thus, the Year Bearers are the four Tzolkʼin day names that appear in this sequence: Ik', Manik', Eb', and Kab'an.

"Year Bearer" literally translates a Mayan concept. [19] Its importance resides in two facts. For one, the four years headed by the Year Bearers are named after them and share their characteristics; therefore, they also have their own prognostications and patron deities. [20] Moreover, since the Year Bearers are geographically identified with boundary markers or mountains, they help define the local community. [21]

The classic system of Year Bearers described above is found at Tikal and in the Dresden Codex. During the Late Classic period a different set of Year Bearers was in use in Campeche. In this system, the Year Bearers were the Tzolkʼin that coincided with 1 Pop. These were Akʼbʼal, Lamat, Bʼen and Edznab. During the Post-Classic period in Yucatán a third system was in use. In this system the Year Bearers were the days that coincided with 2 Pop: Kʼan, Muluc, Ix and Kawak. This system is found in the Chronicle of Oxkutzcab. In addition, just before the Spanish conquest in Mayapan the Maya began to number the days of the Haabʼ from 1 to 20. In this system the Year Bearers are the same as in the 1 Pop – Campeche system. The Classic Year Bearer system is still in use in the Guatemalan highlands [22] and in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico. [23]

Long Count

East side of Stela C, Quirigua with the mythical creation date of 13 baktuns, 0 katuns, 0 tuns, 0 uinals, 0 kins, 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku - August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar East side of stela C, Quirigua.svg
East side of Stela C, Quirigua with the mythical creation date of 13 baktuns, 0 katuns, 0 tuns, 0 uinals, 0 kins, 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku – August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar

Since Calendar Round dates repeat every 18,980 days, approximately 52 solar years, the cycle repeats roughly once each lifetime, so a more refined method of dating was needed if history was to be recorded accurately. To specify dates over periods longer than 52 years, Mesoamericans used the Long Count calendar.

The Maya name for a day was kʼin. Twenty of these kʼins are known as a winal or uinal. Eighteen winals make one tun. Twenty tuns are known as a kʼatun. Twenty kʼatuns make a bʼakʼtun.

The Long Count calendar identifies a date by counting the number of days from the Mayan creation date 4 Ahaw, 8 Kumkʼu (August 11, 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6 in the Julian calendar -3113 astronomical dating). But instead of using a base-10 (decimal) scheme, the Long Count days were tallied in a modified base-20 scheme. Thus is equal to 25 and is equal to 40. As the winal unit resets after only counting to 18, the Long Count consistently uses base-20 only if the tun is considered the primary unit of measurement, not the kʼin; with the kʼin and winal units being the number of days in the tun. The Long Count represents 360 days, rather than the 400 in a purely base-20 (vigesimal) count.

There are also four rarely used higher-order cycles: piktun, kalabtun, kʼinchiltun, and alautun.

Since the Long Count dates are unambiguous, the Long Count was particularly well suited to use on monuments. The monumental inscriptions would not only include the 5 digits of the Long Count, but would also include the two tzolkʼin characters followed by the two haabʼ characters.

Misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar was the basis for a popular belief that a cataclysm would take place on December 21, 2012. December 21, 2012 was simply the day that the calendar went to the next bʼakʼtun, at Long Count The date of the start of the next b'ak'tun (Long Count is March 26, 2407. The date of the start of the next piktun (a complete series of 20 bʼakʼtuns), at Long Count, is October 13, 4772.

Table of Long Count units
Long Count
Long Count
Solar Years
1 Kʼin 1 
1 Winal20 Kʼin20 
1 Tun18 Winal3601
1 Kʼatun20 Tun7,20020
1 Bʼakʼtun20 Kʼatun144,000394
1 Piktun20 Bʼakʼtun2,880,0007,885
1 Kalabtun20 Piktun57,600,000157,704
1 Kʼinchiltun20 Kalabtun1,152,000,0003,154,071
1 Alautun20 Kʼinchiltun23,040,000,00063,081,429

Supplementary Series

Many Classic period inscriptions include a series of glyphs known as the Supplementary Series. The operation of this series was largely worked out by John E. Teeple. The Supplementary Series most commonly consists of the following elements:

Lords of the Night

Each night was ruled by one of the nine lords of the underworld. This nine-day cycle was usually written as two glyphs: a glyph that referred to the Nine Lords as a group, followed by a glyph for the lord that would rule the next night.

Lunar Series

A lunar series generally is written as five glyphs that provide information about the current lunation, the number of the lunation in a series of six, the current ruling lunar deity and the length of the current lunation.

Moon age

The Maya counted the number of days in the current lunation. They used two systems for the zero date of the lunar cycle: either the first night they could see the thin crescent moon or the first morning when they could not see the waning moon. [24] The age of the moon was depicted by a set of glyphs that mayanists coined glyphs D and E:

  • A new moon glyph was used for day zero in the lunar cycle.
  • D glyphs were used for lunar ages for days 1 through 19, with the number of days that had passed from the new moon.
  • For lunar ages 20 to 30, an E glyph was used, with the number of days from 20.

Count of Lunations

The Maya counted the lunations. This cycle appears in the lunar series as two glyphs that modern scholars call the 'C' and 'X' glyphs. The C glyph could be prefixed with a number indicating the lunation. No prefixing number meant one, whereas the numbers two through six indicated the other lunations. [25] [26] There was also a part of the C glyph that indicated where this fell in a larger cycle of 18 lunations. Accompanying the C glyph was the 'X' glyph that showed a similar pattern of 18 lunations. [27] [28]

Lunation length

The present era lunar synodic period is about 29.5305877 mean solar days or about 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2+7/9 seconds. As a whole number, the number of days per lunation will be either 29 or 30 days, with the 30-day intervals necessarily occurring slightly more frequently than the 29-day intervals. The Maya wrote whether the lunar month was 29 or 30 days as two glyphs: a glyph for lunation length followed by either a glyph made up of a moon glyph over a bundle with a suffix of 9 for a 29-day lunation or a moon glyph with a suffix of 10 for a 30-day lunation. Since the Maya didn't use fractions, lunations were approximated by using the formula that there were 149 lunations completed in 4400 days, which yielded a rather short mean month of exactly 4400/149 = 29+79/149 days = 29 days 12 hours 43 minutes and 29+59/149 seconds, or about 29.5302 days. [29]

819-day count

Some Mayan monuments include glyphs that record an 819-day count in their Initial Series. These can also be found in the Dresden codex. [30] This is described in Thompson. [31] More examples of this can be found in Kelley. [32] Each group of 819 days was associated with one of four colors and the cardinal direction with which it was associated  black corresponded to west, red to east, white to north and yellow to south.

The 819-day count can be described several ways: Most of these are referred to using a "Y" glyph and a number. Many also have a glyph for Kʼawill  the god with a smoking mirror in his head. Kʼawill has been suggested as having a link to Jupiter. [33] In the Dresden codex almanac 59 there are Chaacs of the four colors. The accompanying texts begin with a directional glyph and a verb for 819-day-count phrases. Anderson [34] provides a detailed description of the 819-day count.

Synodic periods of the classical planets

   Moon: 1 x 819 + 8 days = 28 (synodic 29.53 d) "28 months"    Moon: 4 x 819 + 2 days = 111 (synodic 29.53 d) "111 months"    Moon: 15 x 819 + 0.3 days = 416 (synodic 29.53 d) "416 months"
   Draconic: 31 x 819 days = 933 (draconic 27.21 d) "nodal months"
   Mercury: 1 x 819 + 8 days = 7 (synodic 115.88 d)    Mercury: 15 x 819 + 2 days = 106 (synodic 115.88 d)
   Venus: 5 x 819 + 8 days = 7 (synodic 583.9 d)
   Sun: 4 x 819 + 11 days = 9 (synodic 365.24 d) "9 years"    Sun: 33 x 819 + 1 days = 74 (synodic 365.24 d) "74 years"
   Mars: 20 x 819 + 2 days = 21 (synodic 779.9 d)
   Jupiter: 1 x 819 + 21 days = 2 (synodic 398.88 d)    Jupiter: 19 x 819 + 5 days = 39 (synodic 398.88 d)
   Saturn: 6 x 819 - 1 days = 13 (synod 378.09 d)


Short count

During the late Classic period the Maya began to use an abbreviated short count instead of the Long Count. An example of this can be found on altar 14 at Tikal. [36] In the kingdoms of Postclassic Yucatán, the Short Count was used instead of the Long Count. The cyclical Short Count is a count of 13 kʼatuns (or 260 tuns), in which each kʼatun was named after its concluding day, Ahau ('Lord'). 1 Imix was selected as the recurrent 'first day' of the cycle, corresponding to 1 Cipactli in the Aztec day count. The cycle was counted from katun 11 Ahau to katun 13 Ahau. Since a katun is 20 × 360 = 7200 days long, and the remainder of 7200 divided by 13 is 11 (7200 = 553×13 + 11), the day number of the concluding day of each successive katun is 9 greater than before (wrapping around at 13, since only 13 day numbers are used). That is, starting with the katun that begins with 1 Imix, the sequence of concluding day numbers is 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 13, 11, ..., all named Ahau. The concluding day 13 Ahau was followed by the re-entering first day 1 Imix. This is the system as found in the colonial Books of Chilam Balam. In characteristic Mesoamerican fashion, these books project the cycle onto the landscape, with 13 Ahauob 'Lordships' dividing the land of Yucatán into 13 'kingdoms'. [37]

See also


  1. Tedlock, Barbara, Time and the Highland Maya Revised edition (1992 Page 1) "Scores of indigenous Guatemalan communities, principally those speaking the Mayan languages known as Ixil, Mam, Pokomchí and Quiché, keep the 260-day cycle and (in many cases) the ancient solar cycle as well (chapter 4)."
  2. Miles, Susanna W, "An Analysis of the Modern Middle American Calendars: A Study in Conservation." In Acculturation in the Americas. Edited by Sol Tax, p. 273. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
  3. "Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time".
  4. See entry on Itzamna, in Miller and Taube (1993), pp.99–100.
  5. 1 2 Academia de las Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (1988). Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala: Documento de referencia para la pronunciación de los nuevos alfabetos oficiales. Guatemala City: Instituto Indigenista Nacional. For details and notes on adoption among the Mayanist community, see Kettunen & Helmke (2020), p. 7.
  6. Tedlock (1992), p. 1
  7. "Mythological" in the sense that when the Long Count was first devised sometime in the Mid- to Late Preclassic, long after this date; see e.g. Miller and Taube (1993, p. 50).
  8. Voss (2006, p. 138)
  9. See separate brief Wikipedia article Lords of the Night
  10. Classic-era reconstructions are as per Kettunen and Helmke (2020), pp. 56–57.
  11. Edmonson, Munro S. (1988). The Book of the Year MIDDLE AMERICAN CALENDRICAL SYSTEMS. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. p. 20. ISBN   0-87480-288-1.
  12. Kettunen and Helmke (2020), pp. 58–59
  13. These names come from de Landa's description of the calendar and they are commonly used by Mayanists, but the Classic Maya did not use these actual names for the day signs. The original names are unknown. See Coe, Michael D.; Mark L Van Stone (2005). Reading the Maya Glyphs. London: Thames & Hudson. p.  43. ISBN   978-0-500-28553-4.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Coe, Michael D.; Mark L Van Stone (2005). Reading the Maya Glyphs. London: Thames & Hudson. p.  43. ISBN   978-0-500-28553-4.
  15. Zero Pop actually fell on the same day as the solstice on 12/27/−575, 12/27/−574, 12/27/−573 and 12/26/−572 (astronomical year numbering, Universal Time), if you don't account for the fact that the Maya region is in roughly time zone UT−6. See IMCCE seasons. Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. Boot (2002), pp. 111–114.
  17. For further details, see Thompson 1966: 123–124
  18. Kettunen and Helmke (2020), p. 51
  19. Thompson 1966: 124
  20. For a thorough treatment of the Year Bearers, see Tedlock 1992: 89–90; 99–104 and Thompson 1966
  21. See Coe 1965
  22. Tedlock 1992: 92
  23. Miles, Susanna W, "An Analysis of the Modern Middle American Calendars: A Study in Conservation." In Acculturation in the Americas. Edited by Sol Tax, pp. 273–84. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
  24. Thompson, J. Eric S. Maya Hieroglyphic Writing, 1950 Page 236
  25. Teeple 1931:53
  26. Thompson Maya Hieroglyphic Writing 1950:240
  27. Linden 1996:343–356.
  28. Schele, Grube, Fahsen 1992
  29. Teeple 1931:67
  30. Grofe, Michael John 2007 The Serpent Series: Precession in the Maya Dresden Codex page 55 p. 206
  31. Maya Hieroglyphic Writing 1961 pp. 212–217
  32. Decipherment of Maya Script, David Kelley 1973 pp. 56–57
  33. Star Gods of the Maya Susan Milbrath 1999, University of Texas Press
  34. "Lloyd B. Anderson The Mayan 819-day Count and the "Y" Glyph: A Probable association with Jupiter". Traditional High Cultures Home Page. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  35. 2023, John H. Linden, Victoria R. Bricker, The Maya 819-Day Count and Planetary Astronomy
  36. Coe, William R. 'TIKAL a handbook of the ancient Maya Ruins' The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. 1967 p. 114
  37. Roys 1967: 132, 184–185

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The history of calendars covers practices with ancient roots as people created and used various methods to keep track of days and larger divisions of time. Calendars commonly serve both cultural and practical purposes and are often connected to astronomy and agriculture.

The Haabʼ is part of the Maya calendric system. It was a 365-day calendar used by many of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica.

The tzolkʼin is the 260-day Mesoamerican calendar used by the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Classic Maya language</span> Oldest attested Mayan language family member

Classic Maya is the oldest historically attested member of the Mayan language family. It is the main language documented in the pre-Columbian inscriptions of the classical period of the Maya civilization. It is also the common ancestor of the Cholan branch of the Mayan language family. Contemporary descendants of classical Maya include Chʼol and Chʼortiʼ. Speakers of these languages can understand many Classic Mayan words.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mesoamerican calendars</span>

The calendrical systems devised and used by the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica, primarily a 260-day year, were used in religious observances and social rituals, such as divination.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya script</span> Writing system of the Maya civilization

Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs, is historically the native writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica and is the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered. The earliest inscriptions found which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BCE in San Bartolo, Guatemala. Maya writing was in continuous use throughout Mesoamerica until the Spanish conquest of the Maya in the 16th and 17th centuries.

<i>Dresden Codex</i> Maya manuscript

The Dresden Codex is a Maya book, which was believed to be the oldest surviving book written in the Americas, dating to the 11th or 12th century. However, in September 2018 it was proven that the Maya Codex of Mexico, previously known as the Grolier Codex, is, in fact, older by about a century. The codex was rediscovered in the city of Dresden, Germany, hence the book's present name. It is located in the museum of the Saxon State Library. The codex contains information relating to astronomical and astrological tables, religious references, seasons of the earth, and illness and medicine. It also includes information about conjunctions of planets and moons.

The Callippic cycle is a particular approximate common multiple of the tropical year and the synodic month, proposed by Callippus in 330 BC. It is a period of 76 years, as an improvement of the 19-year Metonic cycle.

<i>Ajaw</i> Pre-Columbian Maya political title

Ajaw or Ahau ('Lord') is a pre-Columbian Maya political title attested from epigraphic inscriptions. It is also the name of the 20th day of the tzolkʼin, the Maya divinatory calendar, on which a ruler's kʼatun-ending rituals would fall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya religion</span> Beliefs of the ancient Maya people

The traditional Maya or Mayan religion of the extant Maya peoples of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and the Tabasco, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán states of Mexico is part of the wider frame of Mesoamerican religion. As is the case with many other contemporary Mesoamerican religions, it results from centuries of symbiosis with Roman Catholicism. When its pre-Hispanic antecedents are taken into account, however, traditional Maya religion has already existed for more than two and a half millennia as a recognizably distinct phenomenon. Before the advent of Christianity, it was spread over many indigenous kingdoms, all with their own local traditions. Today, it coexists and interacts with pan-Mayan syncretism, the 're-invention of tradition' by the Pan-Maya movement, and Christianity in its various denominations.

The xiuhpōhualli is a 365-day calendar used by the Aztecs and other pre-Columbian Nahua peoples in central Mexico. It is composed of eighteen 20-day "months," which through Spanish usage came to be known as veintenas, with an inauspicious, separate 5-day period at the end of the year called the nēmontēmi. The name given to the 20-day periods in pre-Columbian times is unknown, and though the Nahuatl word for moon or month, mētztli, is sometimes used today to describe them, the sixteenth-century missionary and ethnographer, Diego Durán explained that:

In ancient times the year was composed of eighteen months, and thus it was observed by these Indian people. Since their months were made of no more than twenty days, these were all the days contained in a month, because they were not guided by the moon but by the days; therefore, the year had eighteen months. The days of the year were counted twenty by twenty.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mesoamerican Long Count calendar</span> Calendar used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures

The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is a non-repeating base-20 and base-18 calendar used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya. For this reason, it is often known as the MayaLong Count calendar. Using a modified vigesimal tally, the Long Count calendar identifies a day by counting the number of days passed since a mythical creation date that corresponds to August 11, 3114 BCE in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. The Long Count calendar was widely used on monuments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya moon goddess</span> Mesoamerican moon goddess

The traditional Mayas generally assume the Moon to be female, and the Moon's perceived phases are accordingly conceived as the stages of a woman's life. The Maya moon goddess wields great influence in many areas. Being in the image of a woman, she is associated with sexuality and procreation, fertility and growth, not only of human beings, but also of the vegetation and the crops. Since growth can also cause all sorts of ailments, the moon goddess is also a goddess of disease. Everywhere in Mesoamerica, including the Mayan area, she is specifically associated with water, be it wells, rainfall, or the rainy season. In the codices, she has a terrestrial counterpart in goddess I.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dreamspell</span> Esoteric calendar and game inspired, in part, by the Maya calendar

The Dreamspell is an esoteric calendar in part inspired by the Maya calendar by New Age spiritualist, Mayanist philosopher, and author José Argüelles and Lloydine Burris Argüelles. The Dreamspell calendar was initiated in 1987 and released as a board game in 1990.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya civilization</span> Mesoamerican former civilization

The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization that existed from antiquity to the early modern period. It is known by its ancient temples and glyphs (script). The Maya script is the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas. The civilization is also noted for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya death gods</span>

The Maya death gods known by a variety of names, are two basic types of death gods who are respectively represented by the 16th-century Yucatec deities Hunhau and Uacmitun Ahau mentioned by Spanish Bishop Diego de Landa. Hunhau is the lord of the Underworld. Iconographically, Hunhau and Uacmitun Ahau correspond to the Gods A and A' . In recent narratives, particularly in the oral tradition of the Lacandon people, there is only one death god, who acts as the antipode of the Upper God in the creation of the world and of the human body and soul. This death god inhabits an Underworld that is also the world of the dead. As a ruler over the world of the dead, the principal death god corresponds to the Aztec deity Mictlāntēcutli. The Popol Vuh has two leading death gods, but these two are really one: Both are called "Death," but while one is known as "One Death," the other is called "Seven Death." They were vanquished by the Hero Twins.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maya astronomy</span> Aspect of Precolumbian Maya science

Maya astronomy is the study of the Moon, planets, Milky Way, Sun, and astronomical phenomena by the Precolumbian Maya Civilization of Mesoamerica. The Classic Maya in particular developed some of the most accurate pre-telescope astronomy in the world, aided by their fully developed writing system and their positional numeral system, both of which are fully indigenous to Mesoamerica. The Classic Maya understood many astronomical phenomena: for example, their estimate of the length of the synodic month was more accurate than Ptolemy's, and their calculation of the length of the tropical solar year was more accurate than that of the Spanish when the latter first arrived. Many temples from the Maya architecture have features oriented to celestial events.