This archived article was written by: Kelli Burke-Gabossi
Dec. 21, 2012. The day of the beginning of Winter Solstice for the year. Four days before Christmas. The day the Mayan calendar ends. Well, it’s obvious that the first two assumptions are accurate. But what about the last?
Everybody everywhere is wondering if the world will truly end on Dec. 21, 2012. I apologize to those of you who read and trust the Mayan calendar, religiously. What I am about to tell you may cause heartache, shock and even tears. Brace yourselves. The world will not end Dec. 21, 2012.
According to Ian O’Neill from Universe Today, the Mayans were an advanced civilization, existing between the years 250-900 AD. Evidence for the Maya empire stretches around most parts of the southern states of Mexico and reaches down to the current geological locations of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and some of Honduras. The people living in Mayan society exhibited very advanced written skills and had an amazing ability when constructing cities and urban planning. They are probably most famous for their pyramids and other intricate and grand buildings.
The people of Maya had a great impact on Central American culture, not just within their civilization, but with other indigenous populations in the region. Significant numbers of Mayans still live today, continuing their age-old traditions. They used many different calendars and viewed time as a meshing of spiritual cycles. While the calendars had practical uses, such as social, agricultural, commercial and administrative tasks, a heavy religious element existed as well.
Each day had a patron spirit, signifying that each day had a specific use. This contrasts greatly with the modern Gregorian calendar which primarily sets the administrative, social and economic dates.
Most of the Mayan calendars were short. The Tzolk’in calendar lasted 260 days and the Haab’ approximated the solar year of 365 days. The Mayans brought the Tzolk’in and the Haab’ together to form the “Calendar Round”, a cycle lasting 52 Haab’s (around 52 years). In the Calendar Round were the trecena (13-day cycle) and the veintena (20-day cycle).
Obviously, this system would be useful when considering the 18,980 unique days over the course of 52 years. In addition to these systems, the Mayans also had the “Venus Cycle.” With their advanced knowledge in astronomy, they formed a calendar based on the location of Venus, wrote O’Neill.
Using a new method, the Mayans were able to expand on the 52-year Calendar Round. The principal correlation with the modern calendar is the Haab’ that recognized 365 days in one solar year. The answer to a longer calendar could be found in the “Long Count,” a calendar lasting 5,126 years.
The base year for the Mayan Long Count starts at “0.0.0.0.0.” Each zero goes from 0-19 and represents a tally of Mayan days.
The Mayan prophecy is wholly based on the assumption that something bad is going to happen when the Mayan Long Count calendar runs out. Since the Mayans used the numbers 13 and 20 as the root of their numerical systems, the last day could occur on 18.104.22.168.0.
This represents 5,126 years and the Long Count started on 0.0.0.0.0, which corresponds to the modern date of August 11, 3114 BC. The Mayan Long Count ends 5,126 years later on December 21, 2012.
Human beings love disasters. It’s not a guilty pleasure, nor a dirty little secret. Everybody knows that everybody loves disasters. So all it took was one really intelligent person to mention that the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. And everybody, in their need for extreme, bustled about with the words, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”
However, archaeologists and mythologists theorize that the Mayans predicted an age of enlightenment during 22.214.171.124.0; it’s more like the ending of an era and the commencement of another. There isn’t much evidence to suggest the end of the world. It’s more of a prediction of what the Mayans would call a religious miracle.
So there you have it; the end of the world as we know it is not really as we know it, but more like as we guess it. Think about it. Y2K (year 2000). We made it through in one piece. Armageddon. Never happened. Dec. 21, 2012 is only the ending of an era. When a calendar marks the end of a year, we just buy a new calendar for the next year. We don’t assume the world will end just because year 2009 will end Dec. 31.