The current (13th) B’aktun will end, or be completed, on December 21st, 2012.
There will be celebrations and activities in all major (and minor) Mayan sites in Guatemala and other Central American countries with Mayan history and ruins.
The larger celebration will be at Tikal – the most magnificent of all Maya sites – dominated by five enormous temples, steep-sided limestone pyramids that rise to more than 60 meters above the forest floor.
A baktun (properly b’ak’tun) is 20 katun cycles of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days, equal to 394.26 tropical years. The Classic period of Maya civilization occurred during the 8th and 9th baktuns of the current calendrical cycle. The current (13th) baktun will end, or be completed, on 18.104.22.168.0 (December 21, 2012 using the GMT correlation). This also marks the beginning of the 14th baktun, as such a term is usually used among Mayanists.
The Long Count, for which we do not know the Maya name, is commonly considered the Maya’s linear count of days. In truth it is yet another cycle, but its great length of at least 5126 years makes it essentially a linear count through all of Maya history.
The long count is represented as a five place notation system of ascending cycles – kins (days), winals (20-day months), tuns (360 days), k’atuns (20 tuns), and bak’tuns (20 k’atuns). It is important to note that the long count’s version of a year, the tun, is only 360 days, not the solar count of 365. The largest of the long count’s five cycles, the bak’tun, is a period equaling 400 tuns. Many people believe that the full cycle of the Long Count is complete when 13 bak’tuns have passed since the beginning of the creation of this current universe, identified as the 4th creation in the Maya “story of creation”, the “Popol Vuh”. The ending date of this cycle, currently of such great interest to those anticipating an “end of days”, will occur on December 21, 2012 AD.
Academic research does not indicate that the Maya attached any apocalyptic significance to the year 2012: the date for the end of their world lay unimaginable aeons of time in the future.
The world will continue, the only difference will be how we, as it occupants, treat the world and each other.
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