We Survived the Mayan Apocalypse!

Happy New Year everyone! We made it to 2013!

After all the tension and drama about our supposed doomsday, December 21, 2012 turned out to be pretty normal. Sure, it was the Winter Solstice and there was a super cool alignment with the Earth, the Sun, and the Dark Rift in our galaxy, but nothing bad happened. In fact, many reseachers and historians who study the Maya have said that there was nothing to be worried about, because they didn’t actually predict an apocalypse.

How did this all start? December 21, 2012 is the date that corresponds to the last day of the 13th b’ak’tun in the Mayan Long Count Calendar. The Long Count Calendar is one of three types of calendars the Maya used; it is the longest, spanning several thousand years. It worked by grouping a certain number of days into different periods of time:
-Firstly, days (which are called “k’in”), are counted.
-Then, every 20 days is grouped into a “uinal”.
-Every 18 groups of uinals (approx. 360 days) is then called a “tun”.
-Every 20 tuns (approx. 7200 days) turns into “k’atuns”.
-Finally, every 20 k’atuns are called “b’ak’tuns”, which are approximately 144000 days.

For a more detailed explanation, see: http://www.livescience.com/25662-how-mayan-calendar-works.html

In the Long Count, there are 13 b’ak’tuns, which is around 5125 years; The very last day is, as scientists have calculated, December 21, 2012. So why did the calendar end? The Maya believed that 13 b’ak’tuns represented a cycle of creation, so at the end of each cycle, a new era would begin. This is usually associated with a god, who would come to Earth to make changes. They never predicted the end of the world as we know it, so the apocalypse is really just a misunderstanding!

However, we’re still not sure what the Maya thought will happen in the future since the calendar ended. Maybe this really is the beginning of a new era, and who knows! Maybe some good changes will happen this year…

Dark Rift - photo from A. Fujii, NASA website

Dark Rift – A. Fujii, NASA website


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