Mayas had a very sophisticated calendar based on planetary positions. Their calendar began in August 11th, 3114 B.C. and the 13th b’ak’tun in their calendar will end in December 21st 2012. But what will happen in that day? Will it be an end of humanity, as some have predicted? Will there be some kind of collapse in the universe as a result of black hole and planetary alignment? Will our magnetic field have hick-ups? What about an avenge of Mayan gods or aliens? Or will it be just another day in the endless sequence?
If you like to study Maya calendar or culture, you can visit in Maya Island. Notice, that there are both skybox and ground lever with different kind of detail.
If you are worried, that the world will end in December 21st, 2012, you can relax. Like our Gregorian calendar, Maya calendar is based on cycles of different lengths:
- 1 k’in = 1 day
- 1 winal = 20 k’ins = 20 days
- 1 tun = 18 winals = 360 days =~ 1 year
- 1 k’atun = 20 tuns = 7,200 days =~ 20 years
- 1 b’ak’tun = 20 k’atuns = 144,000 days =~ 394 years
- 1 piktun = 20 b’ak’tuns = 2,880,000 days =~ 7,885 years
- 1 kalabtun = 20 piktuns = 57,600,000 days =~ 157,704 years
In Dec 21st a cycle called b’ak’tun (about 394 years) will end and the next b’ak’tun will start. The new b’ak’tun will be 14th one. So, the 13th b’ak’tun doesn’t mean the end of calendar, but just the end of the cycle and the beginning of the next cycle of same length.
It’s very similar to, what happened between Gregorian years 999 and 1000. The three number year format was running out of digits. The only change that took place, was that the fourth digit was added and the first millenium cycle changed in the calendar, that resulted year 1000. In Mayan calendar there will be a new cycle. That’s all.
So, it’s all about cycles, not about the end. No problems at this time, in other words. :)
For more information: Maya Calendar Conversions
Update: There was some misinformation about the calender, that has been corrected. The real issue about the Mayan apocalypse was intentional misinterpretation of Mayan prophecies by Western press. Anyway, we survived! :)