New year celebrations a comparison between maya and chinese festivals

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NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
A COMPARISON BETWEEN MAYA AND CHINESE FESTIVALS
Reading Cultures Final Report by:
Valery Cohn Berger
1. INTRODUCTION
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes over extended periods. This is done by giving names to periods of time, like days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known asa date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not necessarily, synchronized with the cycle of the sun or the moon, or both.
Ancient Mayas developed various kinds of calendar, like the Choltun (long) the Ha’ab’ (solar, 360 days) and the Tzolk’in (lunar, 260 days, Sacred) among others.
This calendars combined are used to keep track of time. Mayan calendar system initiates in what would beAugust 11, 3114BCE.1

Ancient Mayas developed various kinds of calendar, like the Choltun (long) the Ha’ab’ (solar, 360 days) and the Tzolk’in (lunar, 260 days, Sacred) among others.
This calendars combined are used to keep track of time. Mayan calendar system initiates in what would be August 11, 3114BCE.1

Many civilizations and societies have developed different calendars suited to theirparticular needs, but the common theme of calendar making is the desire to organize units of time to satisfy the needs and preoccupations of society. In addition to serving practical purposes, the process of organization provides a sense, however illusory, of understanding and controlling time itself. Thus calendars serve as a link between mankind and the cosmos. It is little wonder that calendarshave held a sacred status and have served as a source of social order and cultural identity. Calendars have provided the basis for planning agricultural, hunting, and migration cycles, for divination and prognostication, and for maintaining cycles of religious and civil events.
Important dates are very different between societies, but regardless their system of beliefs or the ways ofcommemoration, every calendric system marks the change of year and that’s why this is a good parameter to compare social groups.
Through this paper first there will be studied the Mayan New Year Celebration in Guatemala applying the method used by Janet Adshead to describe the components of a dance.2 Then, this information will be analyzed to get a personal interpretation of the events in order to be usedin the conclusions (mainly focused in the folkloric aspect of the festivals) to make a comparison with the Spring Festival in Taiwan.

1 For a more detailed explanation and description of the relationship between the different calendars, see Appendix 1.
2 Adshead, Janet. Dance Analysis, Theory and Practice. London. Dance Books. 1988
2. DESCRIPTION
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization,noted for having the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period (2000 BCE), reached their highest state of development during the Classic period (250 to 900 CE), and continued throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of theSpanish to Guatemala in 1824.
Nowadays there are 30 Mayan Groups distributed in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras; 21 of them are present in Guatemala. 40% of Guatemala’s population belongs to one of these groups who speak different languages and in some cases even have different traditions, but they have also been bonded by strong commercial relationships for centuries.
On December 29th of1996, after 36 years of internal war, Guatemalan Government and the Rebel Army signed the ‘Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace’.
The fundamental core of the agreement was compensating indigenous people after many years of inequity and cultural repression.

On December 29th of 1996, after 36 years of internal war, Guatemalan Government and the Rebel Army signed the ‘Agreement on a Firm...
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