The Maya developed a sophisticated calendar. The ritual calendar that developed in Mesoamerica used a count of 260 days. This calendar gave each day a name, much like our days of the week.There were 20 day names, each represented by a unique symbol. The days were numbered from 1 to 13. Since there are 20 day names, after the count of thirteen was reached, the next day was numbered 1 again.The 260-day or sacred count calendar was in use throughout Mesoamerica for centuries, probably before the beginning of writing.
Maya Day Names & Approximate Meanings |
Imix | Waterlily |Chuwen | Frog |
Ik' | Wind | Eb | Skull |
Ak'bal | Night | Ben | Corn stalk |
K'an | Corn | Ix | Jaguar |
Chikchan | Snake | Men | Eagle |
Kimi | Death head | Kib | Shell |
Manik'| Hand | Kaban | Earth |
Lamat | Venus | Etz'nab | Flint |
Muluk | Water | Kawak | Storm cloud |
Ok | Dog | Ahaw | Lord |
The Maya also tracked a vague solar year in which they counted365 days per year. Because they could not use fractions, the "quarter" day left over every year caused their calendar to drift with regard to the actual solar year. The 365-day year contained monthswere also given names. numbers 0-19 before they changed, so that the count goes Zero Pohp to 19 Pohp, then continues with Zero Wo.
Month Names and Approximate Meanings |
Pohp | Mat | Yax | Green?? |
Wo | ?? | Zak | White ?? |
Sip | ?? | Keh | Red ?? |
Sotz' | Bat | Mak | ?? |
Sek | ?? | K'ank'in | ?? |
Xul | Dog | Muwan | Owl |
Yaxk'in | New Sun | Pax | ?? |
Mol |Water | K'ayab | Turtle |
Ch'en | Black ?? | Kumk'u | ?? |
To the eighteen regular months the Maya appended a special five-day month called Wayeb composed of 5 days which were considered unnamedand unlucky. Thus the days were counted: One Imix, Zero Pohp, Two Ik, One Pohp. When the thirteenth day was reached the next day was Thirteen Ben, Twelve Pohp; then One Ix, Thirteen Pohp, Two Men,...