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Maya 2012 - The Months of the Year

Updated on August 19, 2016
Austinstar profile image

Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

The meshing of the calendar wheels...

The Mayan Calendar - How to read a Mayan date.

An example date in the Gregorian calendar (common calendar) would be January 5, 2012.

That date in the Mayan calendars is (Long Count calendar); 17 Kankin (Haab or daily calendar) and 4 Muluc (Tzolkin Count calendar).

The Long Count calendar represents the celestial calendar and it is driven by the precessional alignment of the Milky Way galaxy with the Earth.

Reading left to right, the notation means:

12 Baktun (1,728,000 days)

19 Katun (+ 136,800 days)

19 Tun (+ 6,840 days)

0 Uinal (+ 0 days)

9 Kin (+ 9 days)

This means that there have been 1,871,649 days or 5,127.81 years accounted for in the Long Count calendar since the last alignment of the Milky Way center with the Earth as of today, January 5, 2012 if my math is correct.

On December 21, 2012, the long count calendar will reach which completes its 5,128.76 year great cycle (my math may be inaccurate here, I'm not as smart as the Maya) and will begin again. This also corresponds to our sun passing between the center of the great dark rift of the Milky Way Galaxy and 'eclipsing' the Earth.

In other words - 12/21/2012 will mark a celestial eclipse of the center of our galaxy which only occurs every 5,128 years give or take a few years.

The Maya were the first and arguably the only Mesoamerican astronomers able to calculate this celestial occurrence. The Aztecs, who are more notoriously known for the Aztec Cosmos Sun Stone, stole all of this astronomical knowledge from the Maya.

There is even some evidence that the Maya sailed over the Pacific and are originally of Asian descent. There is a great deal of resemblance between the Maya and the Malaysian people. Their designs and styles are quite similar.


The Tzolkin or months of the year

The Haab, or daily calendar (see video) is determined by the numeric alignment of a circle of numbers (0 - 13) aligned with a circle of the 20 day names. Think of an inner gear with 14 teeth meshing with an outer gear of 20 teeth.

If you look at the photo of the Mayan calendar here, all you will see are the months of the year. Months in Mayan are called Uinals. There are 18 named months of the year and a small named "month" of only 5 days.

The calendar does not show the inner gear of 0-13 numbers and the other inner gear of the 20 day glyphs. This calendar only shows the named months of the solar year. If you watch the video, you will see how these gears interact to produce the 'day of the week' plus the 'month of the year'.

Now there is yet another giant sized wheel surrounding the three inner gears. It is called the "Great Round" or great wheel. This giant wheel is the source of all mystery about the Mayan calendar. The chiefs and priests and astronomers of the day kept the Great Round wheel a secret for the most part. The Great Round is what measures the 5,128 year cycle of the universe.

The Great Round could predict the solar and lunar eclipses which gave "power" to the priests and therefore the chiefs and astronomers. Technically, it is used to calculate mathematical precession of the Earth, sun and Milky Way galaxy.

This is pretty easy for us to do in today's world with our powerful telescopes and measuring devices, but imagine what it was like for the Maya! It is astounding that they could measure these things.

The Mayan Months of the Tzolkin

The Order
The Mayan Month Name
Length of the Uinal
0 Pop to 19 Pop (20 days)
0 Uo to 19 Uo (20 days)
0 Zip to 19 Zip (20 days)
0 Zotz to 19 Zotz (20 days)
0 Tzec to 19 Tzec (20 days)
0 Xul to 19 Xul (20 days)
0 Yaxkin to 19 Yaxkin (20 days)
0 Mol to 19 Mol (20 days)
0 Chen to 19 Chen (20 days)
0 Yax to 19 Yax (20 days)
0 Zak to 19 Zak (20 days)
0 Keh to 19 Keh (20 days)
0 Mac to 19 Mac (20 days)
0 Kankin to 19 Kankin (20 days)
0 Muan to 19 Muan (20 days)
0 Pax to 19 Pax (20 days)
0 Kayeb to 19 Kayeb (20 days)
0 Kumku to 19 Kumku (20 days)
Way'eb (Ghost Days)
0 Wayeb to 4 Wayeb (5 days)
Counting all of the Mayan Uinals, the total = 365 Days

The Mayan Prophecy

The Mayan calendar sure is complicated!
The Mayan calendar sure is complicated! | Source

So back to our sample date - 1/5/2012

Today's date of January 5th, 2012 would equal to the 17th day of the Mayan month of Kankin and the 4th Muluc (day name).

Just for grins and giggles - because it truly amuses me how people have come to the conclusion that the world will end when the Mayan calendar ends, I present the "end of the world" date in Mayan!

The date for the alleged end of the world Mayan "prophecy" will be - See Photo - Click it to enlarge.

Mayan Country

show route and directions
A markerChichen Itza -
Chichen-itza, Yucatán, Mexico
get directions

Contains the pyramid of Kulkulcan

B markerPalenque -
Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico
get directions

Considered the Northern outpost of the Maya

C markerAltun Ha -
Altun Ha, Belize City, Belize
get directions

Guided tours are available in this lovely jungle site

D markerTulum -
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
get directions

A Mayan ruin right on the beach!

E markerTikal -
Tikal, Guatemala
get directions

Guatemala is the home of today's modern Maya. Tikal was one of the most important city ruins ever found.

The Mayan Calendar Collector's Edition

The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars (Wooden Books)
The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars (Wooden Books)

The study of heavenly cycles is common to most ancient cultures. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Babylonians all tried to make sense of the year. But it fell to the later Mesoamerican Maya to create a series of calendars that could be cross referenced. In doing so, the Maya discovered many strange numerical harmonics. Their lunar calendar was extremely accurate-far more so than the Greek Metonic cycle; they tracked Venus to an accuracy of less than a day in five hundred years and their tables could have been used to predict eclipses seven hundred years in the future. This book will provide a much needed compact guide to the Mayan calendar systems as well as covering the essentials of calendar development throughout the world.


© 2012 Lela


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    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Thanks Kristen! I'm glad you got some use out of this old hub.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Lela, this was real interesting to know about the Mayan calender dates and how they counted down the days. Very useful and interesting, too. Voted up!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Congratulations! Glad I could help.

    • profile image

      brit brat 5 years ago

      this is the greatest site ever . aced my histopry home work with a 99 % I LOVE THIS SITE

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      You are welcome. I added your link to the Interview with Quetzalcoatl hub.

    • MissDoolittle profile image

      MissDoolittle 6 years ago from Sussex, UK

      Love anything Mayan, so particularly enjoyed reading your hub on this.

      Thank you for the kind comments you left on my hub also.

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 6 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Maybe, their priests took advantage of this knowledge to attribute the eclipses to miracles of their gods? And maybe that's why they kept it secret to their laymen? Well, Just thinking.

      How could the mayans do all these? It's truly a captivating mystery!

      Very interesting!

    • Spacekid profile image

      Spacekid 6 years ago

      I'll be sure to ask people if I can "hold their wallet" on the day before this day then ;D

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      WillStarr - You can stop paying them now! Save all your money for the New Millennium party the night before the world ends.

      drbj - I shall be in the hammock next to yours on the playa, contemplating the Maya.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Lela, for this edifying information about the clever Maya.

      I will ruminate about the end of the calendar as I lie on the Playa.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      If the world ends, do we still have to make mortgage payments?

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      The maya have the 5 "ghost" days for the same reason that we have leap years. The earth's trip around the sun is not a perfect 365 day year. The Mayans had to account for the "extra" time just as we do.

      Yep, I'm ready to go too. You know Chichen Itza is going to be incredibly crowded that day, right? We are going to have to plan WAY ahead of time. Now would not be too soon.

      I'm thinking of sneaking in the night before and spending the night. Wouldn't that be fun?

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That is amazing! I love the video:). I watched it only after I'd read the hub and the imagery really helped. So weird they have that one month with only five days? And why call them ghost days? You've convered a lot of ground here and I hope you are still doing more!

      The Mayans were so many mysterys left behind and they were so advanced! Very, very, very cool up and awesome! Thanks for the link too! Selvatica is awesome:) I'm ready to go when you are!

    • claudiafox profile image

      claudiafox 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Like the cogs