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30th December 2009, 15:21

by Kathie Garcia

How is it that we have lived in a kind of veiled ignorance for millennia, our books speaking of a history which is hardly ancient, but rather a drop in the bucket of time, accepting simplistic stories of creation and evolution and isolated from other life within the galaxy, barely learning with crude ships how to cross our own seas some few hundreds of years ago? And yet, here and there we have been able to pick up the pieces of lost civilizations whose people somehow seemed to be more in touch than ourselves with origins and endings and with the cyclical nature of time. Such a people were the Maya, whose astoundingly precise calendrical achievements brought them to calculate actual dates going as far back as 90 and 300 million years and into the future soon to be our present!

The Mayas believed, as did the Assyrians and other ancient peoples, that time was a way of measuring the soul of the Universe. The universe breathed in and breathed out. Life was created, destroyed, created anew. One cycle of "inhalation and exhalation" was called a "Great Cycle." The last Mayan "Great Cycle," 4 Ahau 8 Camku, began on August 13th, 3113 B.C. 4 Ahau Cambku is currently in a final phase called "Katun 19, 13 Ahau," which begun in 1992 and ends, with a prophecy of world destruction, on Dec. 23, 2012.

As Graham Hancock reminds us in Fingerprints of the Gods, "It’s been a good deal less than two centuries since the majority of Western intellectuals abandoned Bishop Usher’s opinion that the world was created in 4004 B.C. and accepted that it must be infinitely older than that. In plain English this means that the ancient Maya had a far more accurate understanding of the true immensity of geological time, and of the vast antiquity of our planet, than did anyone in Britain, Europe or North America until Darwin propounded the theory of evolution."

The current revival of interest in ancient civilizations is to be expected at the portals of a new age. Like returning to a childhood neighborhood that once encompassed the child’s world but now seems small, our concept of time and space is destined to change rapidly as we enter the Aquarian Age. Uranus in Aquarius will awaken us even as Neptune, which will enter Aquarius in 1998, will jostle our memory of a past long buried, not only in cities beneath the oceans, but in the collective unconscious.

The word "Maya" is generally thought to be a derivative of "Mayab," the Mayan name for the Yucatan Peninsula. Late Mayan texts like "The Popul Vuh" (the "Council Book") and "The Chilaam Balaam" (a collection of oracles, cures and legends regarding the mythic past) say that the Mayan "arrived from the other side of the sea." Archaeologist and author James Churchward believed the Maya were colonists who came from the lost continent of Mu, called the Motherland or Lemuria. Maya, Maia, Maria all come from ‘Ma’ meaning Mother. Mu, according to Churchward, was a huge continent whose great cities and populace of 60 million people sank beneath the Pacific Ocean approximately 12,000 years ago when the gas chambers that upheld the continent collapsed, volcanoes erupted, cataclysmic earthquakes ensued and the ocean covered the land and its people.

When Mu, the Motherland, became overcrowded, or, among her great navigators, some ambitious and enterprising new company found new and available lands, a colonial development was started. These emigrant children of Mu were called Mayas. Anyone who left the Motherland in any direction was called Mayas. One of these colonies was said to have a populace of 35,000,000 people.

Churchward was able to identify a colony in Egypt by the Nile Delta that thrived some 16,000 years ago. Another ran from Mu to Yucatan to Central America. "This was more than 50,000 years ago, and it might have been tens of thousands of years before that." Churchward translated the enigmatic writing on thousands of stone tablets and carved heads found in Mexico, which are incomprehensible except "one know the language, the symbols, the alphabet and the cosmogony of Mu." The hieroglyphic alphabet of Mu, of the ancient Egyptians and Maya is remarkably identical. There can be no denying the connection between these peoples. And despite the crudeness of some of the tablets, apparently created by novices, the meanings of the designs are esoteric in nature; "displaying a profound knowledge of the ancients conception of the origin and workings of the Great Forces, and a perfect knowledge of life and its origins."

In fact, Churchward, like his friend archaeologist Augustus Le Plongeon and modern author Jose Arguelles concur in that here we have evidence of a sacred and ancient science which is yet dawning upon us today. What we look upon as "ancient" Egypt, India, Babylonia were, according to Churchward, but "the dying embers" of the perished Motherland of Mu. Cults to the mother throughout the world echo a dim recollection of a once glorious past.

Le Plongeon follows a similar vein in Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and the Quiches which documents his conclusions after 14 years of research in the Yucatan and in Mesoamerican studies that Mayan colonists transported their ancient religious rites and ceremonies, not only to the banks of the Nile, but to those of the Euphrates, and the shores of the Indian Ocean, not less than 11,500 years ago. Le Plongeon actually found inscriptions in the Yucatan stating, "The first company of settlers in Atlantis were a company of Mayas from Mayax." Churchward considered the great continent of Atlantis, which eventually suffered the same fate as that of Mu, as the largest colony of the Motherland.

Zecharia Sitchin purports that Thoth, the Egyptian avatar, and the great god-hero Quetzalcoatl or Kulkukan, "plumed serpent," worshipped by the Maya and awaited as a kind of Messiah, were one and the same. Sitchin’s tale goes back even further in time, to a time when extraterrestrials, hungry for blood, arrived in Mesopotamia and from there spread their influence to other parts of the earth. (See The Twelfth Planet and The Lost Realms by Sitchin) Obviously, we’re just scratching the surface.

The Mayans were a people who had no labor-saving devices such as the wheel or metal tools, but whose astronomical knowledge and scientific achievement rank them among the highest civilizations in known history. The Mayan had very accurate solar and lunar eclipse tables. They computed to within a thousandth of a decimal point of accuracy the length of the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. By comparison, consider that the Western World did not correct the disparity between the "Julian" calendar and the actual solar year until 1832.

The Mayans established the time taken for the Moon to orbit the Earth as 29.528395 days. Compare this with modern calculations of 29.530588. They meticulously recorded synodical revolutions (the period of time a planet takes to return to any given point in the sky) and synchronizations of the cycles of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The Mayan were particularly interested in Venus, which, like the ancient Egyptians, they recognized as both the morning and the evening star. They referred to Venus as the eighth planet and the earth as the seventh. This and other archaeological evidence has led Sitchin to suggest that they knew of the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as well and had obtained their knowledge from aliens, whose "count" began at farther reaches of the galaxy.

The greatest mystery of all revolves around the Mayan Calendar. "The calendar," in the words of Ed Seler, "is the alpha and omega of Central American sacerdotal wisdom and the great mass of Mexican and Mayan manuscripts are nothing more than an elaboration of this calendric system in respect of its numerical theory, its chronology and its system of divination." The Mayan employed three calendars whose cycles they interpolated. The first was a day calendar called The Long Count. The second, The Tzolkin, or Sacred Calendar was based on a 260 day cycle. The Tzolkin and the synodical revolution of Venus were intermeshed with such astounding accuracy that the relationship was only off by one day every 6000 years! The Tzolkin and Long Count interpenetrated in such a way as to form a complete cycle in just under 52 years, a number significant not only to the Mayas but also to the ancient Egyptians. The pyramids at Giza were constructed at 52 degrees. Hancock feels that the Maya did not develop but rather inherited their complex and esoteric as well as exoteric science from somewhere else. But from whom? And to what end?

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, in a lecture on "Inca Mysteries" presented in the I Am series Unveiled Mysteries, commented that the original Maya came from Venus, bringing with them some of the arts, sciences and philosophy of that planet. Venus, Earth’s sister star, supports her life on a plane, not discernible to our usual senses and instruments, called the etheric plane.

Arguelles has taken it a step forward. We have misinterpreted the Maya, he claims, because their science was beyond our own and thus we had no measuring rod with which to unlock their mysteries. Arguelles claims that the Mayan Calendar relates not only to the time tables of the earth but to the earth’s relationship to the galaxy, the evolution of the Sun and other planets within the galaxy. Arguelles sets out to prove that within the Mayan Calendar is a Galactic Master Code!

We’re going to have to look beyond the obvious to solve the riddle. On the other hand, we need to be sure the imagination doesn’t try to fit the data into self-made theories.
What is the real meaning of Katun 19, Ahau 13, and how does it relate to other prophecy of our time?

30th December 2009, 15:31
Uncovering The Secrets of the Mayan Calendar

by Kathie Garcia

The day was April 21, 1519, a very significant day for 34-year-old Spanish Explorer Hernando Cortes. It happened to be Good Friday.

Outnumbered thousands to one, Cortes astutely depended on guile and psychological treachery as his greatest weapon. Within ten years a population of 25 million was reduced, through plague, starvation, massacres and enforced slavery, to less-than a million. Such was the beginning of the prophesied cycle of nine hells, each lasting 52 years.

How had they arrived at such a precise and dire omen? The Aztecs had inherited their calendar from the Maya. The Maya attributed their incredibly complex calendric system as well as their passion for studying the solar system and astrological divination through numeration and the repetition of cycles to another people whose origin was lost in the dim past. Zecharia Sitchin provides an intriguing argument to prove that the Maya received their astronomical know-how and calendars from the Sumerians who in turn were instructed by Nephilim, technologically advanced beings from another planet. Elizabeth Clare Prophet teaches that the Maya were originally from Venus (those who are Maya today are not the same souls who incarnated in ancient times and who bore the Venusian culture). Jose Arguelles speaks of Galactic Masters who left in the framework of the calendar an advanced culture and a galactic code, a synchronicity with not only planets but levels of consciousness in evolutionary cycles.

The Maya had three calendars. All three calendars were based on the vigesimal mathematical system (times twenty) which is the refinement of the calendar by the Maya over other similar systems in Mesoamerica. The calendars were designed to harmonize actual time, the solar year and the revolutions of the various heavenly bodies.

The first calendar called The Long Count was used for looking back in time and for recording events. An event was reckoned by the number of days that had passed at the time of its occurrence since Aug. 13, 3113 B.C. Judging by archaeological evidence, 3113 B.C. was before the emergence of the Maya civilization. What happened, then, that the Maya would place such importance on this date, a date seemingly as important to them as the birth of Christ to those who formulated the Christian calendar we use today? No one really knows for sure, although the date could commemorate the inauguration of the last Mayan Great Age.

The numeration of the Long Count calendar begins with kin for ones, uinal for twenties; one Tun for 18 uinal periods or what we would call months plus a vayeb of five unnamed days; one katun for 20 Tun or 7,200 days which is 19 years, 73 days; one baktun for 20 katun or 144,000 days or 394 years, 52 days and so forth until the multiples reached alau-tun which equals 23,040,000,000 days or 63,080,082 years!

The Maya spoke of eras of 5,125.40 years each equaling 13 baktuns of 144,000 days each. Each cycle of 13 baktuns was reckoned as an Age or Great Cycle, a specific historical epoch. Like the days and the uinal months, each era had a qualifying meaning represented by its particular glyph. Each Great Cycle was said to be governed by a different Sun with a specific destiny for the evolutions of those incarnating during that era.

In addition to the Long Count, the Maya employed two cyclical calendars. The Maya intermeshed a solar exoteric calendar Haab with a sacred esoteric calendar, Tzolkin. The solar calendar, used primarily for practical and agricultural reasons, consisted of 365.242129 days and is actually more precise than our Gregorian calendar of 365.242500 days. The year haab was intended to begin with the transit of the sun on the zenith and was counted from July 16.

The Maya year was divided into 18 months of 20 days each. This left five days without names or unlucky days at the end of the year. Each of the 18 uinals was dedicated to a specific deity and his corresponding festivals which related to the season of the year, the work to be done during the season and the nature of the season itself. During the five useless or unnamed days, the Spanish chroniclers wrote that no action of any importance, even of sweeping the house or combing one's hair, was undertaken. It was believed that if one quarreled during those days, one would be destined to do so for the rest of the year! Woe to the poor person who happened to be born during one of the nameless days! His life was fated to be one of misery and unhappiness!

The days were designated in groups of 13. Each day had its specific omens, used for astrological divination. Twenty-eight of these 13-day weeks equals 364 days leaving an extra day at the end. When 13 years had elapsed, the number of these extra days would equal 13, called kin katun, the katun of the days. The Spanish chroniclers called these kin katuns indictions. When four indictions have passed, in other words, 52 years, the year would begin with a year bearer of the same name. This cycle of 52 years was reached by the Aztecs and other peoples of Mesoamerica in the same manner. Five cycles of 52 years is 260 years, a Great Cycle, also reached by 13 x 20 and called Ahau Katun. Ahau is the word for chief, king, ruler. The Ahau was the key to the nature of the cycle.

The Tzolkin, the sacred year calendar, used for ceremonial and ritualistic purposes, lasted 260 days. The Tzolkin consisted of a smaller wheel of 13 glyphs rotated with a larger wheel of 20 days, resulting in the 260-day sacred year. Any given day represented a particular intermeshing of the HAAB Solar Year and the ritualistic Tzolkin resulting in a specific forecast. Jose Arguelles believes that through the Tzolkin the Maya were able to track and interpret sunspot cycles. He also claims that the Tzolkin provided the means to connect with two star systems, specifically the Pleiades and possibly Arcturus as well.

The two cyclical calendars, the Haab and the Tzolkin intercalibrated together created the Sacred Round of 52 years called the binding of the years. For only once in 52 years or 18,980 days could the combination of 13, 20 and 365 repeat itself. The 52-year cycle was sacred to all ancient peoples of Mesoamerica and a key factor in their understanding of past and future events.

Moira Timms sums up Jose Arguelles complex speculations: The Tzolkin can be regarded as a periodic table of galactic frequencies, because it is a fractal of the vague count of the 26,000-year precession of the equinoxes. The 26,000-year cycle of the sun's revolution around the Pleiades, the 26,000,000-year periodicity of extinctions reported in an extensive literature related to comet showers, and possible pole shift, as Earth recurrently passes through the Oort cloud, and other celestial cycles related by periods of time, the factor of which is 260. Jose Arguelles has named this calendar the Harmonic Module because the 260 possible permutations of the 13 numbers and 20-day glyphs accommodate every possible computation of all the calendric movements.

The basis, then, of this seemingly complex but ultimately simple system is in the harmonizing factor of the 20x13. For example, the solar revolution of Venus is 584 days. Five such revolutions = 2,920, or eight solar years of 365 days. Sixty-five such periods = 37,960, double the period of 52 years, the direct result of the application of the designation of days in accordance with the system of 20 characters and 13 digits to the solar year of 365 days. Likewise, the solar revolution of Mercury is 115 days; 104 of these revolutions produce the number 11,960 which also is 46 times the period of 20x13 days. Brian Swimme writes in his introduction to Jose Arguelles book, The Mayan Factor, The Maya felt they were engaged with the mind of the Sun, which manifested for them the mind and heart of the galaxy. Arguelles shows how the calendars relate to the revolution and frequency of the planets as well; a topic too extensive to go into in detail in the space of this article.

Apparently, around A.D. 843, in the heyday of its civilization, the great Mayan cities and ceremonial centers were suddenly and inexplicably abandoned. Pyramids were deserted and left to be engulfed by the Yucatan jungle for hundreds of years. Referring to the departure of the Galactic Masters in the ninth century, Arguelles writes:

Their achievement, their actual calling card, was a series of monuments which recorded in a very precise manner the correlations between the galactic harmonic pattern and the terrestrial solar calendar. The current 5,125 year cycle, 3113 B.C. - A.D. 2012, is a precise calibration of the galactic fractal, 5,2000 tun in diameter. This 5,200-tun (or 1,872,000 kin or 260 katun or 13 baktun) cycle literally acts like a lens focusing a beam through which information from galactic sources is synchronized via the Sun to the Earth.

Why the obsession with time? A moment is surely a measurement of opportunity. The cycles of time are accelerating as is our perception of them. A shift as prophesied in the current 13 Baktun cycle, Baktun 12 (the Baktun cycles begin with Baktun zero so the second is Baktun one, etc.), The Transformation of Matter, seems inevitable. The Maya glyphs for the period 1992 to 2012 are 13 Reed/20 Ahau. In Beyond Prophecies and Predictions, Moira Timms interprets the meaning of 13 Reed/20 Ahau.

Thirteen Reed synchronizes cycles. In order to do this, it brings transformation and new beginnings by means of destruction or renewal, breakdown or breakthrough...13 Reed is the time tunnel to new dimensions. Planetary alignments and evolutionary shifts occur during 13-Reed periods.

Twenty Ahau as the last glyph of the day calendar, and heart of the calendric system, unifies and completes all natural, cultural, religious and prophetic time cycles. The tail end of the Age of Pisces is upon us, as is the close of the Mesoamerican Fifth World, and the Kali Yuga of the Hindus, all nested within the culminating revolution of the precessional Great Year.

The current Maya Great Age, the fifth, said to be a synthesis of the last four Great Ages and is symbolized by the glyph Ollin, meaning movement or shift. This age is believed to have been initiated by Quetzalcoatl in 3,113 B.C. and is due to complete its cycle, Dec. 21, 2012.

In the Mayan Chronology, the date 3113 B.C. date is written On Dec. 21, 2012, the date will again be written The coefficient 13 in the date refers to the completion of a cycle of 13 baktuns. Between the first cycle and the ending cycle, 13 Baktun cycles of slightly less than 400 years each have passed. Therefore, the first Baktun of the new cycle is Baktun zero again. Note that 13 in esoteric tradition represents the Christ. There were 12 disciples, Jesus as the Christed One was 13.

The Maya-based Aztec calendar places Ollin in the center of the calendar. Ollin represents a point of synthesis. We are currently in the thirteenth cycle, Baktun 12, the Baktun of the Transformation of Matter spanning the years 1618 to 2012. The last katun of this Age began 1992 and ends 2012. The glyph for this katun is Storm followed by Sun; a period of darkness followed by one of light. This is where we are today.

The point of interest of the Maya calendar today is not only in solving the mysteries of ancient civilizations but in that it corroborates and coincides with so many other sources of prophecy, astrological, Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, the predictions of the Ascended Masters through Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Fatima and the warnings of Mother Mary in her many appearances around the globe in recent years, and others, of the significance of these end times.

The Maya calendar has been reexcavated and given greater attention in recent years because the wisdom upon which it is based is becoming more comprehensible to our consciousness as we do indeed approach a shift in the portals of Aquarius, not only in the emminent possibility of polar shifts and earth alignments, but in consciousness. A shift that in the nature of the yin/yang of cycles fulfilling themselves appears to be inevitable. Metaphysics can no longer be separated from our archaeological interpretations and our musings on ancient civilizations. Metaphyics speaks of a Seventh Root Race, a new wave of lifestreams that are destined to incarnate in South America, the forerunners of a potential Golden Age, but whose timetables have been held up by the sorry state of human affairs. Cortes may not have been Quetzalcoatl but he may indeed have been the bearer of a judgment to a people steeped in the blood of human sacrifice and of a time prophesied of great turmoil, followed by the promise of a new era of enlightenment. He was clearing the way for the Seventh Root Race.

30th December 2009, 16:30
The Maya calendar

Among their other accomplishments, the ancient Mayas invented a calendar of remarkable accuracy and complexity. At right is the ancient Mayan Pyramid Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. The Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichén Itzá, constructed circa 1050 was built during the late Mayan period, when Toltecs from Tula became politically powerful. The pyramid was used as a calendar: four stairways, each with 91 steps and a platform at the top, making a total of 365, equivalent to the number of days in a calendar year.

Aztec Calendar.
The Aztec calendar was an adaptation of the Mayan calendar.
It consisted of a 365-day agricultural calendar, as well as a
260-day sacred calendar.
(This is a digital composite. Color added for visibility.)The Maya calendar was adopted by the other Mesoamerican nations, such as the Aztecs and the Toltec, which adopted the mechanics of the calendar unaltered but changed the names of the days of the week and the months. An Aztec calendar stone is shown above right.

The Maya calendar uses three different dating systems in parallel, the Long Count, the Tzolkin (divine calendar), and the Haab (civil calendar). Of these, only the Haab has a direct relationship to the length of the year.

A typical Mayan date looks like this:, 3 Cimi 4 Zotz. is the Long Count date.
3 Cimi is the Tzolkin date.
4 Zotz is the Haab date.

What is the Long Count?

When did the Long Count Start?
What is the Tzolkin?

When did the Tzolkin Start?
What is the Haab?

When did the Haab Start?
Did the Mayas Think a Year Was 365 Days?

What is the Long Count?
The Long Count is really a mixed base-20/base-18 representation of a number, representing the number of days since the start of the Mayan era. It is thus akin to the Julian Day Number.

The basic unit is the kin (day), which is the last component of the Long Count. Going from right to left the remaining components are:

uinal | (1 uinal = 20 kin = 20 days)
tun | (1 tun = 18 uinal = 360 days = approx. 1 year)
katun | (1 katun = 20 tun = 7,200 days = approx. 20 years)
baktun | (1 baktun = 20 katun = 144,000 days = approx. 394 years)
The kin, tun, and katun are numbered from 0 to 19.
The uinal are numbered from 0 to 17.
The baktun are numbered from 1 to 13.

Although they are not part of the Long Count, the Mayas had names for larger time spans. The following names are sometimes quoted, although they are not ancient Maya terms:
1 pictun = 20 baktun = 2,880,000 days = approx. 7885 years
1 calabtun = 20 pictun = 57,600,000 days = approx. 158,000 years
1 kinchiltun = 20 calabtun = 1,152,000,000 days = approx. 3 million years
1 alautun = 20 kinchiltun = 23,040,000,000 days = approx. 63 million years

The alautun is probably the longest named period in any calendar.

When did the Long Count Start?
Logically, the first date in the Long Count should be, but as the baktun (the first component) are numbered from 1 to 13 rather than 0 to 12, this first date is actually written

The authorities disagree on what corresponds to in our calendar. I have come across three possible equivalences: = 8 Sep 3114 BC (Julian) = 13 Aug 3114 BC (Gregorian) = 6 Sep 3114 BC (Julian) = 11 Aug 3114 BC (Gregorian) = 11 Nov 3374 BC (Julian) = 15 Oct 3374 BC (Gregorian)

Assuming one of the first two equivalences, the Long Count will again reach on 21 or 23 December AD 2012 - a not too distant future.

The date may have been the Mayas’ idea of the date of the creation of the world.

What is the Tzolkin?
The Tzolkin date is a combination of two "week" lengths.

While our calendar uses a single week of seven days, the Mayan calendar used two different lengths of week:
a numbered week of 13 days, in which the days were numbered from 1 to 13
a named week of 20 days, in which the names of the days were:
0. | Ahau | 1. | Imix | 2. | Ik | 3. | Akbal | 4. | Kan
5. | Chicchan | 6. | Cimi | 7. | Manik | 8. | Lamat | 9. | Muluc
10. | Oc | 11. | Chuen | 12. | Eb | 13. | Ben | 14. | Ix
15. | Men | 16. | Cib | 17. | Caban | 18. | Etznab | 19. | Caunac

maya days
The diagram at left shows the day symbols, in the same order as the table above.

As the named week is 20 days and the smallest Long Count digit is 20 days, there is synchrony between the two; if, for example, the last digit of today’s Long Count is 0, today must be Ahau; if it is 6, it must be Cimi. Since the numbered and the named week were both "weeks," each of their name/number change daily; therefore, the day after 3 Cimi is not 4 Cimi, but 4 Manik, and the day after that, 5 Lamat.

The next time Cimi rolls around, 20 days later, it will be 10 Cimi instead of 3 Cimi. The next 3 Cimi will not occur until 260 (or 13 x 20) days have passed. This 260-day cycle also had good-luck or bad-luck associations connected with each day, and for this reason, it became known as the "divinatory year."

The "years" of the Tzolkin calendar are not counted.

When did the Tzolkin Start?
Long Count corresponds to 4 Ahau. The authorities agree on this.
What is the Haab?

The Haab was the civil calendar of the Mayas. It consisted of 18 "months" of 20 days each, followed by 5 extra days, known as Uayeb. This gives a year length of 365 days.

The names of the month were:
1. | Pop || 7. | Yaxkin || 13. | Mac
2. | Uo || 8. | Mol || 14. | Kankin
3. | Zip || 9. | Chen || 15. | Muan
4. | Zotz || 10. | Yax || 16. | Pax
5. | Tzec || 11. | Zac || 17. | Kayab
6. | Xul || 12. | Ceh || 18. | Cumku

In contrast to the Tzolkin dates, the Haab month names changed every 20 days instead of daily; so the day after 4 Zotz would be 5 Zotz, followed by 6 Zotz ... up to 19 Zotz, which is followed by 0 Tzec.

The days of the month were numbered from 0 to 19. This use of a 0th day of the month in a civil calendar is unique to the Maya system; it is believed that the Mayas discovered the number zero, and the uses to which it could be put, centuries before it was discovered in Europe or Asia.

The Uayeb days acquired a very derogatory reputation for bad luck; known as "days without names" or "days without souls," and were observed as days of prayer and mourning. Fires were extinguished and the population refrained from eating hot food. Anyone born on those days was "doomed to a miserable life."

The years of the Haab calendar are not counted.
The length of the Tzolkin year was 260 days and the length of the Haab year was 365 days. The smallest number that can be divided evenly by 260 and 365 is 18,980, or 365×52; this was known as the Calendar Round. If a day is, for example, "4 Ahau 8 Cumku," the next day falling on "4 Ahau 8 Cumku" would be 18,980 days or about 52 years later. Among the Aztec, the end of a Calendar Round was a time of public panic as it was thought the world might be coming to an end. When the Pleaides crossed the horizon on 4 Ahau 8 Cumku, they knew the world had been granted another 52-year extension.

When did the Haab Start?
Long Count corresponds to 8 Cumku. The authorities agree on this.

Did the Mayas Think a Year Was 365 Days?
Although there were only 365 days in the Haab year, the Mayas were aware that a year is slightly longer than 365 days, and in fact, many of the month-names are associated with the seasons; Yaxkin, for example, means "new or strong sun" and, at the beginning of the Long Count, 1 Yaxkin was the day after the winter solstice, when the sun starts to shine for a longer period of time and higher in the sky. When the Long Count was put into motion, it was started at, and 0 Yaxkin corresponded with Midwinter Day, as it did at back in 3114 B.C.E. The available evidence indicates that the Mayas estimated that a 365-day year precessed through all the seasons twice in or 1,101,600 days.

We can therefore derive a value for the Mayan estimate of the year by dividing 1,101,600 by 365, subtracting 2, and taking that number and dividing 1,101,600 by the result, which gives us an answer of 365.242036 days, which is slightly more accurate than the 365.2425 days of the Gregorian calendar.

(This apparent accuracy could, however, be a simple coincidence. The Mayas estimated that a 365-day year precessed through all the seasons twice in days. These numbers are only accurate to 2-3 digits. Suppose the days had corresponded to 2.001 cycles rather than 2 cycles of the 365-day year, would the Mayas have noticed?)

In ancient times, the Mayans had a tradition of a 360-day year. But by the 4th century B.C.E. they took a different approach than either Europeans or Asians. They maintained three different calendars at the same time. In one of them, they divided a 365-day year into eighteen 20-day months followed by a five-day period that was part of no month. The five-day period was considered to be unlucky.

Maya calendar from webexhibits.org/calendars