Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mystery and Mystique - Who Are the Maya?

"Early Evening Sky" - MM Sikes
Since I first visited the dramatic, expansive ruins of the Maya that lie buried deep beneath the thick, green jungles of Mexico and Central America, I've been hooked. Then, when I started reading about the end of the Maya Calendar in 2012, I was spellbound. It's like gazing at the sky in wonderment as early evening settles in.

Did the Maya know things we do not? Is the end of their calendar on December 21, 2012 the sign of a doomsday event?

Because of their advanced abilities in mathematics and their primitive knowledge of astronomy, the Maya were able to develop a calendar that was considered by some to be the most accurate in the world. Their Long Count calendar begins in 3114 BC and ends December 21, 2012. The calendar has time divisions of 144,000 days (a little more than 394 years) called Baktuns. The 13th Baktun ends December 21, 2012. Long ago, the Maya predicted a solar shift at that time. A stone tablet found in the 1960s at the Tortuguero archaeological site in the Gulf of Mexico tells of the return of a Mayan god at the end of the 13th Baktun.

So much of the Maya history was destroyed during the European conquest that sometimes myths have grown to take the place of knowledge. I love the adventure of uncovering the ruins of the lost buildings of the Maya. I even fantasized about it in my latest Passenger to Paradise book, Jungle Jeopardy.

Who knows what still may lie hidden beneath the lush, tropical jungles?

Mexican tourism will take advantage of the 2012 phenomena. A year-long celebration is planned for the heart of the Maya ruins that lie buried in southern Mexico. Palenque in Chiapas is one of those sites. As many as 52 million tourists are expected to flood the area. That compares with about 22 million during an average year.

Who knows what we may learn? Perhaps we will know more about who the Maya were in those long ago lost times.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While I don't think the world is ending next year, the increase in tourists will do wonders for the Mexican economy.

Chuck said...

Monti, all ya had to do was post a tantilizing tale like this and I come running! I am going to be posting things through out the year as we countdown to 12-21-12. I loved reading this!

Monti said...

Alex, it should mean quite a lot to Mexican tourism!

Chuck, I'll be looking out for what you write. Fascinating stuff!!!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Though I'm not sure the end is near I will e watching all the different types of coverage the year is sure to hold.

Fascinating facts and ideas here.

Monti said...

Thanks, Mary, for your comment. Yes, it will be fascinating to watch and to learn more, I hope, about a long-ago civilization with a history diminished by European conquerors.