21 December 2012
At the end of the 13th baktun, the Long Count calendar resets to 0.0. 0.0. 0. The ancient Maya reportedly believed that with each end of the Universal cycle, the Universe itself would “reset” by ending and starting over — not just the calendar — hence the doomsday interpretation.
Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. The majority of them live in Guatemala, which is home to Tikal National Park, the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
They used 20-day months, and had two calendar years: the 260-day Sacred Round, or tzolkin, and the 365-day Vague Year, or haab. These two calendars coincided every 52 years. The 52-year period of time was called a “bundle” and meant the same to the Maya as our century does to us.
The current practice of referring to the current baktun as ” baktun 13” or “thirteenth baktun ” may stand, even though it is properly the fourteenth baktun .
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
As already stated, the Classic Maya collapse was not the end of the Maya culture. Northern cities and those in the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala survived up to the Spanish Conquest, and even today seven million people speak Mayan in Mesoamerica.
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.