By now, you’ve heard that December 21, 2012, marks the “end” of the Mayan calendar, and possibly the end of the world. But is it?
According to Wikipedia, the Mayan long count calendar is divided into the following time periods: k’in (one day), winal (20 k’in), tun (18 winal), k’atun (20 tun), and b’ak’tun (20 k’atun). This is similar (but not identical) to the Western calendar time periods: days, months, years, centuries, and millenia. The first b’ak’tun began toward the end of the year 2720 BC, hence the name “long count.” Currently, we are heading toward the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, and will begin the 14th on December 21, 2012. So, aside from turning pages on a calendar (either Mayan or Western), what else does this mean? Apocalypse? Well, not really:
Despite the publicity generated by the 2012 date, Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated that “We have no record or knowledge that [the Maya] would think the world would come to an end” in 2012. “For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,” says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Florida. To render December 21, 2012, as a doomsday event or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”
Sounds a lot like the whole Y2K hullabaloo, isn’t it? I’m thinking we should plan a party for December 22.
Culture Club – “Time (Clock Of The Heart)”