Happy New B’ak’tun!

Happy New B’ak’tun! December 21, 2012

And a blessed new Long Count to you and yours!

Phil Plait:

There is no suggestion, not even a hint, in Maya writing that they thought the end of this current b’ak’tun had any connection to doomsday. It’s entirely possible it may have even been thought of as a time of celebration (just like we celebrate New Year’s Eve).

The Maya also had bigger units of time, including the piktun (which was either 13 or 20 b’ak’tun), and the alautun, which was — get this — 63 million years! So it doesn’t sound like they were predicting the end of the world ever, let alone by this weekend.

Anyway, it hardly matters. Just like our calendar, theirs was based on cycles. At the end on a cycle, you reset all the current units and move the biggest one up a notch. It’s what we do on December 31: Reset to the first day of the first month, and increment the year by one. Happy New Year! Same thing with the Long Count. After the last day of the 13th b’ak’tun, they’d start over at the next one.

So even the very basis of all this fear-mongering is wrong. But why let facts get in the way of a good doomsday?


Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

The Telegraph:

David Morrison, an astronomer at Nasa, said: “At least once a week I get a message from a young person, as young as 11, who says they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday. I think it’s evil for people to propagate rumors on the internet to frighten children.”

Mayans themselves reject any notion that the world will end. Pedro Celestino Yac Noj, a Mayan sage, burned seeds and fruits to mark the end of the old calender at a ceremony in Cuba. He said: “The 21st is for giving thanks and gratitude and the 22nd welcomes the new cycle, a new dawn.”

Photo gallery:Predicting the end of the world — FAIL


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  • MaryKaye

    The world depicted in Shadowrun is pretty awful in a lot of ways, but I have to say, in my heart I still want the Awakening to happen.  Even if it had to come with the plagues and the destruction of most of my city by Mt. Rainier.  Somehow a world with dragons seems intrinsically better than a world without.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought it was bad how people who designed interfaith December holiday cards in 2006-2008 put Eid al-Adha on them and have kept using those designs even though this year that holiday was in October.

  • aunursa

    Yes.  That said, if it were so important for Muslims and Jews that outsiders be abreast of the specific dates of our respective holidays and observances, we would have adopted solar calendars rather than a lunar (Muslim) or lunisolar (Jewish) calendar.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Might not be important to you lot that we know, but if we’re going to do things that require us to know, we are fucking well obligated to fact-check. Which is not exactly difficult in this era of fucking Wikipedia.

    …okay, that image is going to keep me entertained a while.

  • aunursa

    I am particularly concerned that those planning to schedule any event, exam, or celebration check to see if the date conflicts with a religious or cultural observance.  If people don’t realize … or forget that certain religious holidays “move around” the solar calendar, and happen to issue an unfortunately-timed greeting, that doesn’t bother me as much.  Yes, it would be nice if they check the date first, but I’m not going to get all bent out of shape over it.

  • Wednesday

    At this point in my life, if someone wishes me a Happy Hannukah at any point in December, I’m just glad they’re recognizing the existence of half of my family.

  • AnonymousSam

    Which one? I got a mental image of a dog humping on a Wikipedia logo, myself.

  • Tricksterson

    Happy Hallowen!

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, I consider myself a troll (Otherkin) and a shaman of Trickster but it would be nice to shoot flamebolts and turn into a raven.  Not to mention having tusks.  Yes, I put way too much thought into this.

  •  What would you use the flamebolts for?

  • I also try not to get annoyed when people assume my husband and I are brothers.

    I’d be so squicked out.

    When I was fifteen years old — and I looked fifteen years old — I went with my father to one of his business things. It was a long weekend at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island so the whole family went. My mom had a headache one night, though, and my dad had to go to a party, and it was in the coolest suite in the place, which I wanted to see, so I went with him. His boss promptly assumed I was my father’s wife. I don’t think either my father or I has ever jumped away from anything as quickly as we jumped away from each other. 

    The boss was about 50 and his wife looked about 25, tops. I had to literally bite my tongue to stop myself from saying something like, “just because you married a high school student, that doesn’t mean every middle-aged man does.” I was pretty good at making nice with Dad’s co-workers by then, but I STILL resent that. It was just so totally disgusting.

  • Kiba

    What would you use the flamebolts for?


  • Kiba

    I was wandering around a hospital gift shop once with my mother and the shop person there thought I was my mother’s husband. Squicked me right the fuck out. Still does. Of course my mother has a bad habit of hanging off my arm and constantly touching me that I find annoying and disturbing so I can’t be too upset that someone saw that and reached that particular conclusion.  

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you like your marshmallows charcoaled, then?

  • Kiba

     Yes. I usually toast em till they’re nice and black.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In that case, carry on.

  • Tricksterson

    Setting people on fire, duh!

  •  Pity.

  • Hello everyone!

    Happy Non-World-Ending Day to you all X-D

  • Tricksterson

    Don’t worry, only good people.

  • A few years back Easter and Passover didn’t line up, but our local grocery stores didn’t get the message; they had all their kosher-for-Passover stuff out one lunisolar cycle earlier – and of course it was almost all gone when Passover did roll around.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Well, we’re well on our way to turning the real world into a dystopia where huge corrupt corporations run everything, all we need is the magic and cybernetics.

  • The_L1985

     Yeah, I’m feeling cheated by the lack of real-world magic.  I tried yelling “Narokath San’tak Chat’tur’gha!” and I didn’t get any stronger.  Either real-world applications of zapping monsters in the head are still not happening, or homemade Circles of Power don’t pack the same punch.

  • Kiba

    To be honest I just want hot elves in dressed in leather….