The Tren Maya, Mexico's ambitious railway project, is not just a marvel of infrastructure development but also a testament to modern engineering and thoughtful design. As it weaves through the Yucatán Peninsula, connecting ancient ruins, bustling cities, and tranquil beaches, the Tren Maya offers a unique travel experience. This article delves into the specifics of the train's speed, the comfort of its cabins, and other details that set it apart as a future icon of Mexican tourism.

Speed: Balancing Efficiency and Scenic Beauty

The Tren Maya is designed to strike a perfect balance between speed and the opportunity for passengers to soak in the stunning landscapes of the Yucatán Peninsula. With an operating speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 mph), the train ensures a swift yet comfortable journey across its route. This speed is optimal for a scenic railway, allowing travelers to enjoy the beauty of the region without the blur of rushing past. It positions the Tren Maya as a competitive option for travel, significantly reducing travel times between key destinations while providing a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Cabin Comfort: A Glimpse Inside

The cabins of the Tren Maya are crafted with passenger comfort and convenience in mind, offering a range of options to suit different needs and preferences. From standard seating to more luxurious accommodations, each cabin is designed to enhance the travel experience. Here's what passengers can expect:

  • Standard Cabins: These cabins are equipped with comfortable seating, ample legroom, and large windows for panoramic views of the passing scenery. Air conditioning, power outlets, and onboard Wi-Fi ensure that passengers travel in comfort and stay connected.
  • First-Class Cabins: For those seeking a more upscale experience, the first-class cabins offer enhanced comfort with wider seats, additional legroom, and complimentary refreshments. Attentive service and a quieter environment make it an ideal choice for travelers looking to relax or work during their journey.
  • Dining and Lounge Cars: The Tren Maya also features dining and lounge cars where passengers can enjoy meals, snacks, and beverages in a social setting. These cars are designed with large windows, providing an immersive dining experience as the landscape unfolds outside.
  • Accessibility Features: Accessibility is a key consideration in the design of the Tren Maya. Cabins are equipped with features to accommodate passengers with reduced mobility, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the journey.

Beyond the Rails: Additional Details

The Tren Maya is more than just a train; it's a comprehensive travel experience that includes:

  • Eco-Friendly Design: The project emphasizes sustainability, with measures in place to minimize environmental impact. This includes the use of energy-efficient technologies and careful routing to protect natural habitats.
  • Cultural Integration: Reflecting the rich heritage of the region, the train and its stations are designed with cultural motifs and artworks, offering passengers a cultural journey as well as a physical one.
  • Connectivity: With 18 stations planned along its route, the Tren Maya connects major tourist destinations, archaeological sites, and cities, making it an integral part of Mexico's tourism infrastructure.

Conclusion

The Tren Maya represents a bold step forward in travel within the Yucatán Peninsula, offering speed, comfort, and a window to the soul of southeastern Mexico. Its thoughtful design, from the efficiency of its operation to the comfort of its cabins, ensures that every journey is not just a trip but an experience. As the project progresses, the Tren Maya is set to become a cornerstone of sustainable tourism and a symbol of Mexico's commitment to preserving and celebrating its cultural and natural heritage.

Stay tuned for more updates as the Tren Maya continues to unfold, promising to transform the way we explore the wonders of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Tren Maya, an ambitious railway project designed to traverse the Yucatán Peninsula and revolutionize travel in southeastern Mexico, has been a topic of much anticipation and speculation. As of early 2024, the question on many minds is: "Is Tren Maya done?" The answer is a mix of progress and patience, as some sections of the railway are operational, while others are still under construction or in the planning stages. Here's the latest update on the Tren Maya project, highlighting the operational segments, pending completions, and future plans.

Operational Segments: A Leap Forward

As of January 2024, the Tren Maya has partially opened its doors to the public, marking a significant milestone in the project's development. The northern route, connecting Palenque to Cancún Airport, has begun operations, offering travelers a new and exciting way to explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region. This operational segment is a testament to the project's potential to boost tourism, foster economic growth, and make the ancient and modern wonders of the Yucatán Peninsula more accessible.

Pending Completions: The Road Ahead

Palenque

Temple of the Inscriptions

Despite the progress, several key segments of the Tren Maya are still under construction or awaiting further studies before they can be completed:

  • Palenque: The segment near Palenque is not yet completed, with ongoing construction efforts to ensure that this crucial stop integrates seamlessly into the broader network. Palenque is a significant site, known for its breathtaking Mayan ruins set amidst the lush jungles of Chiapas. The completion of this segment will unlock direct access to one of Mexico's most treasured archaeological sites.
  • Tulum: The Tulum segment requires additional geological studies before construction can proceed. Tulum, famed for its stunning beaches and cliff-top Mayan ruins, is a critical stop on the Tren Maya route. The need for geological studies underscores the project's commitment to environmental sustainability and the preservation of the region's natural and cultural heritage.

Future Plans: Expanding the Network

The Tren Maya project is far from standing still. Plans for extending the railway, improving existing infrastructure, and enhancing the overall passenger experience are in motion. These future plans are designed to ensure that the Tren Maya not only serves as a mode of transportation but also as a catalyst for sustainable development and cultural exchange.

The Impact of Tren Maya

The partial operation of the Tren Maya is already reshaping travel in the Yucatán Peninsula. By connecting key destinations such as Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and, eventually, Palenque and Tulum, the railway is set to redistribute tourist flows, encourage the exploration of lesser-known sites, and stimulate local economies. Moreover, the project's focus on sustainability and respect for the region's rich cultural heritage aligns with global efforts to promote responsible tourism.

Conclusion

So, is Tren Maya done? While significant portions of the railway are operational, the journey towards completing this monumental project continues. The Tren Maya stands as a symbol of progress, with its operational segments heralding a new era of travel in the Yucatán Peninsula. As construction progresses and further studies ensure the project's harmony with the environment, the anticipation for the full realization of the Tren Maya grows. This ambitious project promises to be more than just a railway; it's a bridge to the past and a gateway to the future of sustainable tourism in Mexico.

Stay tuned for more updates as the Tren Maya project advances, promising to transform the way we explore and appreciate the wonders of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Maya Train project, an ambitious railway system traversing the Yucatán Peninsula, offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural wonders of southeastern Mexico. From the stunning beaches of Cancún to the ancient ruins of Palenque, each stop along the Maya Train route promises a unique adventure. Here's your guide to the must-visit stops along the Maya Train, designed to captivate the imagination of explorers, history buffs, and nature lovers alike.

Cancún International Airport: The Gateway to Adventure

Begin your journey at the Cancún International Airport, where the world-renowned beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife of Cancún await. This bustling city is not only a paradise for sun-seekers but also serves as the perfect starting point for your exploration of the Riviera Maya.

Playa del Carmen: A Blend of Beaches and Culture

Next, the train stops at Playa del Carmen, known for its picturesque beaches and the famous Quinta Avenida. Here, travelers can enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment, all while soaking in the laid-back Caribbean atmosphere.

Tulum: Where History Meets the Sea

Pyramids

Tulum

Though construction to Tulum has been halted for further geological studies , it's within easy reach and offers a breathtaking combination of well-preserved Mayan ruins, stunning beaches, and cenotes. The ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, provide a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization.

Valladolid: A Colonial Gem

Valladolid, a charming colonial city near Chichen Itza, is a must-visit for its beautiful cenotes and rich history. The city serves as a gateway to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, offering a deep dive into the Mayan culture and architecture.

Mérida: The Cultural Heart of Yucatán

Mérida, the vibrant capital of Yucatán, is celebrated for its colonial heritage, lively culture, and exquisite cuisine. It's an ideal hub for exploring nearby Mayan sites and experiencing the local way of life.

Campeche: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The fortified city of Campeche, with its well-preserved colonial architecture and ancient walls, tells the tales of pirates and Spanish conquerors. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a window into the region's storied past.

Palenque: A Jungle Shrouded Mystery

Palenque, set against a backdrop of lush jungle in Chiapas, is famous for its archaeological site, offering an intimate look at the ruins of a Mayan city-state and its connection to the natural world.

Beyond the Beaten Path

The Maya Train also stops at lesser-known destinations like Calakmul and Bacalar, where travelers can explore ancient ruins and natural wonders away from the crowds. Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, serves as a gateway to Belize and the southern Yucatán's Mayan culture.

The Maya Train project is more than just a transportation system; it's a journey through time and space, connecting travelers to the heart of the Mayan civilization and the natural beauty of the Yucatán Peninsula. Each stop along the route offers a unique story, waiting to be discovered. Whether you're drawn to the allure of ancient ruins, the charm of colonial cities, or the tranquility of natural landscapes, the Maya Train promises an adventure that's as diverse as it is unforgettable.

Embark on this remarkable journey and uncover the secrets of the Yucatán Peninsula with the Maya Train. From the shores of Cancún to the jungles of Palenque, a world of discovery awaits.

The Maya Train project, an ambitious initiative by the Mexican government, promises to revolutionize travel in the Yucatán Peninsula. Designed to connect the ancient with the modern, this extensive rail network aims to enhance economic growth, boost tourism, and make the rich cultural heritage of the Maya civilization more accessible. Spanning approximately 1,500 kilometers and traversing five states—Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo—the Maya Train is set to be a cornerstone of development and a new window into the past.

A Journey Through Time and Space

The Maya Train is not just a transportation project; it's a cultural odyssey. By linking key archaeological sites, including the world-renowned Chichen Itza, with bustling cities and hidden gems of the peninsula, the train offers a unique opportunity to explore the depth and diversity of Maya heritage. For enthusiasts and scholars alike, the project serves as a bridge to the ancient world, making the profound wisdom and architectural marvels of the Maya civilization more accessible than ever before.

Economic Revitalization and Sustainable Tourism

Beyond its cultural significance, the Maya Train is poised to stimulate economic development in some of Mexico's less developed areas. By improving transportation infrastructure, the project aims to create jobs, encourage investment, and promote sustainable tourism practices. This initiative represents a balanced approach to development, seeking to preserve the region's invaluable cultural and natural resources while fostering economic growth.

Addressing Challenges with Care

While the Maya Train holds great promise, it also faces scrutiny regarding environmental impacts and the consultation process with indigenous communities. Critics have raised concerns about potential harm to the region's ecosystems and the need for meaningful engagement with local populations. Proponents argue that with careful planning and adherence to sustainable practices, the project can achieve its goals without compromising the environmental or cultural integrity of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Conclusion: A New Era for the Yucatán Peninsula

The Maya Train project embodies a vision of progress that honors the past while looking to the future. By making the ancient wonders of the Maya civilization more accessible and driving economic development, the train is set to open new horizons for both residents and visitors of the Yucatán Peninsula. As this ambitious project moves forward, it holds the potential to become a model for integrating cultural preservation with modern development, offering a new pathway to explore the legacy of one of the world's most fascinating ancient civilizations.

Introduction

The Mayan Calendar, a system of timekeeping that dates back thousands of years, has long been a subject of fascination and intrigue. But what does the Mayan Calendar actually tell us? And how does it differ from the calendars we use today? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore these questions and more.

What does the Mayan Calendar tell you?

One of the most common misconceptions about the Mayan Calendar is that it's a single, unified system. In reality, the Mayan Calendar is a complex system of multiple calendars, each with its own purpose and cycle. At the heart of this system is the foundational calendar known as the Chol'qi, or Tzol'kin.

The Tzol'kin is a 260-day cycle, a period that closely aligns with the gestational period of a human pregnancy. This is no coincidence. The Mayans viewed time as an inherently sacred and personal process, deeply intertwined with human life and consciousness. The Tzol'kin, therefore, is more than just a way to mark time. It's a reflection of the Mayans' profound understanding of the interconnectedness of human life, nature, and reality itself.

This understanding of time as a divine measurement of consciousness is a key aspect of the Mayan Calendar. It's not just about marking the days and years. It's about understanding our place within the grand cycle of existence. For those interested in a deeper exploration of this concept, the Intro to the Mayan Calendar: An Archetypal Structure of Reality provides an insightful perspective.

What year did the Mayan Calendar go to?

The Mayan Calendar is often associated with the year 2012, which marked the end of a significant cycle known as the 13th Baktun. This event sparked widespread speculation and debate, with some interpreting it as a prediction of the end of the world. However, for the Mayans, it was viewed as the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, reflecting their cyclical view of time and history.

The modern world's obsession with the end of the world and 2012, has severely tarnished the reputation of this sacred spiritual practice. Differing people from understanding the true meaning and importance of this calendar.

 How long is a year on the Mayan Calendar?

Mayan calendar from perspective

The Mayan Calendar actually consists of several interlocking calendars, each with different lengths. The Tzolk'in, a 260-day sacred calendar, and the Haab', a 365-day solar calendar, were combined to create the Calendar Round, a cycle of approximately 52 years. This system allowed the Mayans to track religious and agricultural events, as well as historical records.

Another cycle to note, is the "Mam" similar to a new year, is a function within Tzol'kin where the beginning of every Haab cycle, the day 0 Pop, will align with 4 days in the Tzol'kin. Noj, Iq, Kej, Ee.

Did the Mayans have a 365 day calendar?

Yes, the Mayans did have a 365-day calendar known as the Haab'. This solar calendar was used in conjunction with the Tzolk'in to create the Calendar Round. The Haab' consisted of 18 months of 20 days each, plus an additional short month of 5 days, known as Wayeb'.

What year did the Mayans fall?

The Mayan civilization reached its peak during the Classic Period, from around 250 to 900 AD. After this, the civilization went into decline, with the last Mayan city, Nojpetén, falling to Spanish conquistadors in 1697. Despite this fall, the Mayan people and their cultural traditions, including the Mayan Calendar, have endured.

Do the Mayans still use the Mayan Calendar?

Circular mayan calendar mexico. Background, dates

Despite the fall of the Mayan civilization, the Mayan Calendar is still in use today among some Mayan communities, particularly in the highlands of Guatemala. These communities use the calendar for religious ceremonies and to determine auspicious dates for events like weddings and crop plantings. This ongoing use of the Mayan Calendar is a testament to its cultural significance and the enduring legacy of the Mayan people.

Conclusion

The Mayan Calendar is a rich and complex system that offers a unique perspective on time, history, and the cosmos. Whether you're a history buff, a lover of ancient cultures, or simply curious about different ways of understanding the world, the Mayan Calendar is a fascinating topic

The ancient city of Chichén Itza is one of the most popular archeological sites in all of Mexico. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, this site contains some of the most well-preserved Maya ruins in the world, including the famous El Castillo pyramid. Visiting the city is an incredible experience, and if you wanted a little more information about what you will see once there, read on!

El Castillo Pyramid

How Old Mayan Pyramids Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

El Castillo is one of, if not THE most iconic structures at Chichén Itza. Any image of the Maya is sure to include this iconic building. This structure stands 30-meters (98 feet) tall made of nine square terraces, with stairs on each of the four sides leading to a temple at the summit. Each stair has 91, which added together with the platform at the summit, equal 365, which may have significance with the Maya Haab or calendar. Rituals and ceremony would have taken places in this temple, with the crowds of onlookers standing in the courtyard below. 

Spanish Conquistadors gave El Castillo (The Castle) that name, though the Maya name for this structure is the Temple of Kukulcán, the Maya feathered serpent deity. The temple was built between the 8th and 12th centuries in the Late and Postclassic Periods. Like most Maya structures, the Temple was not one single construction phase, but underwent multiple building and renovations.

Aside from its shape, the Temple of Kukulcán of iconic for two architectural feats. When people in the courtyard at the base of the temple clap their hands, the sounds travels along the structure and changes, mimicking the cry of the quetzal bird. Along with this sound phenomena, there is also a visual one, seen during the weeks around the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes. In the last afternoon, a shadow forms on the northern side of the temple that appears to be a serpent moving down the staircase, which may represent the deity Kukulcán.

The Great Ballcourt

Aerial view of ancient Mayan city Chichen Itza

While El Castillo may be the symbol of Chichén Itza, it is far from being its only attraction. There are numerous temples dedicated to various deities such as Chaac (god of rain), Yum Kaax (goddess of fertility), and Kukulkan (serpent god). Along with these, there are other ceremonial and administrative and ritually important structures.

This includes playing alleys where the Mesoamerican ballgame was played. In this game. There are thirteen ballcourts found in the city. This is where the Mesoamerican ballgame was played, where a rubber ball is moved between two teams without using their hands, to try and score points, often by getting it through a hoop on the wall. This game spans nearly all the cultures of Mesoamerica and was played for thousands of years before the construction of Chichén Itza. It even continues to be played today, and as such has a great deal of variation on how it was played.

The Great Ball Court at Chichén Itza northwest of the Temple of Kukulcán is the largest of the thirteen ballcourts found in the city, measuring 168 by 70 meters (551 by 230 feet). It is also the largest ballcourt found in Mesoamerica. The playing alley is flanked by additional temples, including the Temple of the Bearded Man at the north and the Temple of the Jaguar built along the eastern wall, which includes a viewing area. 

The Tzompantli Platform 

The Tzompantli of Skull Platform shows the influence of Central Mexican design and ritual. This stone platform shows hundreds of carved human skulls, which mimics wooden racks or palisades found in Central Mexico where actual skulls would be stored. 

While this kind of human sacrifice depictions are seen elsewhere in the Maya world, it is much more limited amongst the Maya than among the cultures of Central Mexico, such as the Toltecs and the later Aztecs. The entire city of Chichén Itza has design and architectural mix of Maya and Toltec styles, so while the Tzompantli Platform fits the Maya style, the theme and meaning of it was brought in by the Toltec.

The Sacred Cenote

Much of eastern Mesoamerica has a karst landscape, meaning that the bedrock is limestone. The Yucatan peninsula is the same, with the added difficulty that surface water is very rare, with most water underground in rivers and caves. Limestone, however, is easily broken and dissolved, resulting in many natural sinkholes, which when filled with water become wells or cenotes. 

Chichén Itza was built between two large cenotes, with the name itself meaning ‘at the mouth of the well of the Itza’ (with the Itza being a Maya ethnic-lineage). The Cenote Sagrado, or Sacred Cenote, is the larger of the two at around 60 meters (200 feet) in diameter with sheer cliffs that drop 27 meters (89 feet) to the water below. While of course exaggerated for the drama, the cenote of the cartoon ‘Road to El Dorado’ was based on the Sacred Cenote of Chichén Itza. 

The Sacred Cenote was a place where ritual and ceremony took place, most notably sacrifices to the gods during times of drought. Archaeologists diving to the bottom of the cenote have found thousands of artifacts, ranging from the everyday to the price-less, as well as human skeletons. Pilgrimages were made to the Sacred Cenote before, during, and after the occupation of Chichén Itza, with Spanish accounts also describing traveling Maya coming to perform rituals at this sacred space.  

Conclusion

Chichén Itza offers visitors an amazing opportunity to explore thousands of years of Maya and Mesoamerican culture. From learning about Maya mythology to simply admiring stunning architecture, there is something for everyone at this historic site—regardless of if you are planning on exploring it alone or with a guide. So pack your bags and don’t forget your camera, sunscreen, and water because you won’t want to miss out on all that Chichén Itza has to offer!

 

To most, the pyramids of the ancient Maya in Central America are synonymous with mystery. For years they have captured the imaginations of archaeologists, historians, authors, filmmakers, and the general public. All that have found a fascination with these buildings seek the same thing; to unveil the secrets hidden within their walls. 

While there are still things we do not know about these iconic structures, recent discoveries have given us a greater insight into their purpose. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the latest findings and what they tell us about the role of the Maya pyramid in ancient society.

The large man-made mountains that the Maya made, were not actually pyramids, in the strictest sense of the definition. There is a great deal of variation in the sizes, shapes, and functions of these great stone structures. These pyramids were used for a variety of purposes, including public or private ceremonies, religious rituals, the home of multiple tombs, and astronomical observatories. Even in a complex that has multiple pyramids, each one could have served a different purpose for the Maya. Investigating these grand structures tells us a great deal about this ancient culture. 

Construction Techniques

Unlike the ancient Egyptians, the Maya did not build their pyramids out of large, stacked blocks. Instead, they started construction on a courtyard or bedrock surface, and then created a platform made of a combination of earth, rock, and plaster. These platforms were generally square or rectangular that sloped upwards at an angle. Multiple platforms would then be built on top of each other, with each higher one being slightly smaller. Walls of cut limestone were used to hold the building material in place, with those cut stones creating the faces of the structure. 

They were not left bare; stucco, a kind of plaster made from burning limestone, resulted in a brilliant white paste that they applied to the surface of buildings. This was then painted or carved with decorative elements, most often with the most impressive features flanking a central staircase that ascended to the top of the pyramid, where there was either an open platform or a room/building.  

If there were open rooms within the structure, it was common practice for the next ruler to fill those rooms and build a new layer over top. This was done for multiple reasons, such as to show the ruler’s power and control, but also for safety. The Maya did not have the true arch but used what is called a corbeled vaulted arch, which is much more triangular. This resulted in long narrow rooms that were not very stable, so filling them in and creating new rooms or platforms helped to prevent collapses/ 

Pyramids, Temples, or Both? 

One of the most common misconceptions about Maya pyramids is that they were used exclusively as tombs for powerful rulers or religious figures. This would make them similar to the more famous kind of pyramids seen in Egypt. However, archaeological evidence points to this not being the main use the Maya had for their pyramids. Only a few were used as tombs, and those that do house human remains did so in a particular manner.

In fact, most of what we would consider pyramids were actually religious or ceremonial structures. Unlike those seen in Egypt, the Maya pyramids were designed so activity took place on them, rather than inside of them. Stairs were generally placed in the center of the structure that led to the peak, where an open room or building was located. This building was then the temple, where ceremonies or rituals took place. Spectators would stand in the large open courtyards at the base of the pyramid to witness or participate in the ceremony. 

Tombs are only seldomly found in these pyramid temple structures, and usually only a limited number of them. These would generally have belonged to important rulers and/or religious figures, most often an important member of the royal dynasty. Perhaps the founder of the dynasty, or the ruler who ordered the construction of the pyramid.

There were of course structures that were more tombs than a temple. Archaeologists refer to these kinds of buildings as mortuary temples. They were used to house multiple burials, likely from the same ruling dynasty, where living members of that dynasty could then complete rituals to honor their ancestors. These structures tend to group to themselves, in a Necropolis, with the other temple pyramids found elsewhere within the city. 

Pyramids and Astronomy 

Another key function of the Maya pyramids was to keep track of astronomical events, though not all pyramids were used in that manner. The Maya were expert astronomers and kept detailed records of astronomical phenomena such as eclipses, planetary alignments, solstice, and equinox events. 

To aid in this effort, they constructed many pyramid complexes that had observatories located at their summits, rather than temples. From these high vantage points, Maya astronomers could make detailed observations of the sky and record their findings in hieroglyphic writings, either in books that have not survived or on murals within the pyramid complex. In this way, the Maya were able to develop highly accurate calendars that could be used to predict future astronomical events with remarkable accuracy. 

Conclusion

The ancient Maya civilization produced some of the most impressive architectural feats in history with their beautifully designed pyramids. 

While there are still elements we do not know about them, recent discoveries have given us a greater insight into the purpose of the ancient Mayan pyramids. These structures served many different functions in Mayan society, from temples and burial chambers for elite members of society to observatories used by Maya astronomers to track astronomical events. By unravelling some of the mysteries surrounding these iconic buildings, we can begin to get a better understanding of life in ancient Maya civilization.

The next time you see a picture of a Mayan pyramid, you will be able to appreciate all that went into its creation!

The Maya Calendar is a complex system of timekeeping that was used by the Maya civilization. The Maya used three main calendars, the Long Count, the Tzol'kin (sacred), and the Haab (year). The Long Count was used to track long periods of time, into the ancient past and into the far future. The long count began on a date that is equivalent to August 11th, 3114 BC in the Gregorian calendar. 

The Tzol'kin was used to measure shorter periods of time, and it was based on a cycle of 20 days and 13 named numbers. The Haab was also used to measure shorter periods of time, but it was based on a cycle of 365 days. The Haab worked with the Tzol’kin to create a year of 365 days, and 19 months. The first 18 months were all made of 20 days, while the last month was made of 5 days, to account for the irregularity of the solar year.

They used these calendars to keep an incredibly accurate count of the solar year, as evidenced by their year having 365 days, same as us. They were also able to use this system to keep accurate track of astronomy, paying special attention to Venus and the phases of the Moon.

The Tzol'kin: A Sacred Calendar

The Tzol'kin calendar is based on a cycle of 260 days, which is divided into 20 archetypal named days and 13 named numbers (think like our Thursday the 12th, but slightly different). This continual cycle of 20 names and 13 numbers combined to make 260 days, which made up the Sacred Calendar for the Maya.

Each of these days has a Nawal that represents it. A Nawal is an archetype that has its own unique energy and destiny. Each of the named elements of the Tzol’kin combined to create a Nawal, which embodies the spirit or energy of that name, lending to that day’s events or people born on that day.

As a result, the Tzol'kin calendar is said to be a calendar of destiny, as it can be used to determine the Archetypal energies that will be present in an individual's life at any given time. Some days were more sacred or important than others, about the Tzol’kin would keep track of those days to hold ceremonies or perform rituals.

Glyphs: The Names of the Days

carved glyphs on a stone Mayan calendar

The day glyphs are one of the most important aspects of the Maya calendar. Each day is represented by a unique glyph which was made of the names for the day and number on which it fell. These glyphs could then be combined with other glyphs to form words and phrases. It was only until the mid-20th century that we began to decipher the Maya glyphs and realize that it was a full-fledged language. The day glyphs are used to track the progress of time, as well as to communicate information about the future, including astronomical events.

In addition to their practical uses, the day glyphs also have a deep spiritual significance. For the Maya, time is not linear but cyclical, and each day glyph represents a different stage in the journey of the soul, the community, and their culture as a whole. By understanding the day glyphs, we can gain insights into the Maya conception of time, the universe, and the cosmology of their beliefs. 

The Use of the Calendar

The Maya calendar has been used for centuries to track important events. The use of all three calendar systems is largely limited to the Classic Period (300 – 900 CE) when it was used to record important dates or events on monuments to show the glory of kings.

In ancient times, the calendars were used to mark the passage of time and to track the seasons. It was also used to record births, deaths, religious ceremonies, and important historic events. One of the most notable examples of depicting historic events are seen on stelae found at Tikal and other large cities, all which talk about the same event.

January 16th, 378 CE marks the “arrival of strangers” at Tikal, one of the largest and most powerful of the Classic Period cities. These strangers are depicted in clothes and styles typical of Central Mexico and likely they came from Teotihuacan. But this wasn’t just a nice friendly visit. The story told on these stelas is that upon the arrival of these strangers, the current ruler of Tikal “entered the water” (a lovely euphemism for dying) and one year later, a new king was crowned. This new king, however, was not from the same family dynasty as the previous king. Instead, he was said to be the sun of a king from the west, named Spearthrower Owl. 

This event went on to drastically change the landscape of the Classic Maya world. And until Maya glyphs were deciphered, it was almost impossible to understand this event. And because the Maya had such an accurate calendar and obsession with recording time accurately, we know the exact day and year this event took place. 

The ancient Mayans were a highly advanced civilization, with a rich culture that included many different aspects of art, architecture, and spirituality. One area in which the Mayans excelled was in their understanding of astronomy and mathematics. This allowed them to create a highly accurate calendars.

The Maya had many calendars, but the one that interests many people today is their spiritual calendar the Tzol’kin or Chol’qi.

The 260 day calendar is a sacred tradition that has been passed down through the generations. It is an important part of understanding who you are and where you come from. Our readings are straight from the source, so you can be sure that you’re getting the most accurate information possible.

Discovering your birthday’s meaning can be life-changing. It can help you to understand yourself better and give you direction for your future. With our authentic readings, we can help you do just that.

Go to our home page to find out your Mayan Calendar Birth Sign!

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260 Days

Maya sun

The Tzol'kin calendar is a sacred 260-day calendar that is still used by some Mayan communities today. Each day on the calendar is represented by a unique combination of a day sign and a number. The 20 day signs represent different archetypal energies, while the 13 numbers represent different numeral impulses. Together, these create a unique message or personality for each day.

If you're interested in learning more about the Tzol'kin calendar, be sure to sign up for a membership at mayanday.com. You'll have access to exclusive content where we explore the meanings of each day sign and how they can be used to guide your life path.

Nawals

The days of the Tzol’kin calendar are considered to be spirits or structures of consciousness. They are referred to by the Maya as “Nawals”. At their core they are archetypal concepts that have a multitude of meanings that coexist within the day.

The Tzol’kin is made up of two parts, the 20 nominal “Nawals” and the 13 numeral “Nawals”. The nominal “Nawals” represent archetypal nature  like the Deer, or  Road, Wind, and Knowledge. The numeral “Nawals” represent impulses or intenitions of water

The 20 Archetypal Nawls

1. Ahau/Junajpu – Sun / Ruling Energy: Leadership, abundance, vitality

2. Imix/Imox – Crocodile / Nurturing Energy: new beginnings, water, craziness

3. Ik/Iq – Wind / Spirit Energy: breath, communications, anger

4. Akbal/Aq’ab’al – Night / Mystical Energy: light, duality, dream

5. Kan/Kat – Net / Work Energy: fuel, net, debt

6. Chicchan/Kan – Serpent / Wisdom Energy: Illusion, wisdom, lightning

7. Cimi/Kame – Death / Ancestral Energy: community, oppression in the heart, Ancestors

8. Manik/Kej – Deer/ Forest Energy: Journey, strength, eating

9. Lamat/Q’anil – Rabbit / Intoxicated Energy: beauty, abundance, vice, rotting

10. Muluc/Toj – Fire / Emotional Healing Energy: cleansing emotions, forgiveness , compassion

11. Oc/Tzi – Dog / Loyalty Energy: faithfulness , protection , guard against negativity

12. Chuen/Batz – Monkey / Creative Energy : fun-loving , creative tricks , spirit guide connections

13. Eb/Ee – Road / Traveler's Energy : new horizons , change , unexpected adventures

14 . Ben/Aj - Reed / Barker's energy : prophecy , heralding messages from Spirit Guides

15 . Ix/Ix Balam - Jaguar / Shaman's energy : shape-shifting into other realms for clarity & healing

16 . Men/Tz’ikin - Eagle / Warrior's energy : clear vision , soaring above challenges , strength in adversity

17 . Cib/Ajmaq - Vulture / Courageous Energy : cycles of life & death ; Transition ; karmic balance

18 . Caban/Noj - Knowledge / Logistical Energy : grounding stability amidst change ; sense of place

19 . Eznab/Tijax - Knife / Mirror Energy: cutting through illusions to see truth sharpness; criticism with love

20 . Cauac/Kawuq - Storm / Healing Energy: the illuminated clouds that represents an inner vision.

The 13 Numeral Nawals

  1. Jun- Invitation, beginning

  2. Keb- Duality, Calculation

  3. Oxib- Action, Home

  4. Kajib- Stability, Attachment, Stagnant

  5. Job- Breakthrough, to Find

  6. Wakib- Heart, Weighing

  7. Wuqub- Reflection, Explosion

  8. Wajxaquib- Order, Return,

  9.  Belejeb- Hidden, Transformation

  10. Lajuj- Meeting, Manifestation

  11. Julajuj- Resolution, Liberation

  12. Kablajuj- Understanding, Extra

  13. Oxlajuj- Ancestral, the Biggest

Trecena

The concept of Trecena explores the idea of the matching of these two groups of “Nawals”. Trecena, which references the 13 numeral “Nawals”, is the 13 day week period that the 20 archetypal “Nawals” phase through.

This combination of “Nawals” creates 260 unique days and 20 different Trecenas. Depending on which Maya lineage, the name of the Trecena is either the first or the last day. The Yucatec Maya used the first day as the name of trecena, where as the Kiche Maya use the last day.

This concept of Trecena has been passed down through oral tradition, but never referenced in Maya stelae.

Find Out More

At Mayanday.com our new Interactive Trecena Analysis tool will help you understand the real meaning of the Mayan Calendar. This knowledge has been preserved by the K'ichi' Maya in the highlands of Guatemala and Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula.

View the Trecena in its entirety, as well as each individual day, with our new Interactive Trecena Analysis tool. You won't find anything like it anywhere else!

By signing up for a membership at mayanday.com, you'll have access to this exclusive content that explores the meanings of each day sign and how they can be used to guide your life path.

 

The Haab as a Solar Calendar

The Maya understood the positioning on the earth in relation to the sun and the rest of the solar system. From this, as well as their understanding of the mathematical concept of zero, they were able to create an incredibly accurate solar-based calendar of 365 days, just like our current one.

This calendar is named the Haab, which means ‘vauge’ in the Mayan language. The Haab is made of 19 months, with the first each having 20 named days made of number-glyphs combinations. The last month only held 5 days, to account for the non-exact nature of the way earth travels around the sun. They did this rather than have leap years like we do, so that calendar did not fall out of sync with the changing of the seasons, which was highly important for an agricultural based society. 

The Haab calendar is still used by some Maya communities today in Guatemala and Mexico. It remains an important part of modern Maya culture and provides a unique way of understanding time. 

Maya sun

Predictions of the Haab

There are 19 months in the Haab; the first 18 consist of 20 days, while the final month only has 5 days. This final month was called Wayeb and was considered unlucky and the Maya would try to not do anything important or different like traveling on these days to avoid ill fortune . 

Haab was used to track the movements of the sun and moon in relation to earth. It was also used to understand and predict eclipses, the equinox and solstices, and other astronomical events. Such important astronomical events were held in high esteem for the Maya and were days that held significant cultural and religious importance. Rituals and ceremonies would be conducted on important buildings or plazas in the cores of the cities in accordance with these astronomical events.

Together with the Tzo’lkin (260-day sacred calendar) made up the Long Count, which the Maya used to understand deep time, the same way that we use BCE or CE with the Gregorian calendar. In that way, the Maya were able to understand time and history very much like we do today, just with a different starting point then our date of 0 CE. 

The Meaning on the Months and Days

Haab months

The Haab Months

Each of the 18 months of the Haab had a patron deity that ‘ruled’ over the next 20 days. Each day had unique characteristics that were determined by the deity that ruled it. For example, days ruled by Chac, the god of rain, are said to be good for planting, while days ruled by Ah Puch, the god of darkness, are said to be bad for hunting. 

By understanding the characteristics of each day, farmers and others can make better decisions about when to plant, harvest, or take other actions. But it wasn’t just farmers who kept track of these days. The kings and priests would have as well, and would have performed certain rituals and ceremonies based on the days and meanings they had. 

The Haab calendar is used to track the seasons and understand when certain events will occur, such as time of year when the seasons would change. This was important to know, so that the timing of planting and harvesting food could take place, as well as preparing for the rainy season. 

The names of the months are listed below (with their meaning/translation in brackets)…

Pop (Mat)

Wo’ (Black Conjunction)

Sip (Red Conjunction)

Sotz’ (Bat)

Tzec (Death)

Xul (Dog)

Yaxk’in (First/New Sun)

Mol (Water/Jade)

Ch’en (Black Storm)

Yax (Green Storm)

Sak’ (White Storm)

Keh (Red Storm)

Mak (To Cover/Enclose)

K’ank’in (Yellow Sun)

Muwan (Owl)

Pax (Planting Time)

K’ayab’ (Turtle)

Kumk’u (Ripe Maize/Granary)

Wayeb (Misfortune/Nameless Days) – The Unlucky final month of 5 days only.

The Maya had many calendars

Mayan Alphabet. Close up of hieroglyph or glyph writing system found in Copan (Honduras), Tikal (Guatemala) and Chichen Itza, Palenque, Uxmal, Yaxchilan, Bonampak (Mexico).

The Maya calendar is comprised of three distinct calendars- the Haab, the Tzolk'in, and the Long Count. Each calendar served a different purpose in Maya society. The Haab, or "civil" calendar, was used to schedule ceremonies and rituals. 

The Tzolk'in, or "sacred" calendar, was used for divination and predicting auspicious days for certain activities. It was comprised of thirteen weeks of twenty days each. It would have been this calendar that would be most similar to the Greek-based system of astrology that is commonly used today.

The Long Count was used to record historical events and track the passage of time. It consisted of a sequence of numbers that were reset to zero every 5,125 years. Together, these three calendars allowed the Maya to keep track of time in a highly accurate and sophisticated way.

Understanding Maya culture and mythology

The Maya calendar is a complicated system of interlocking cycles, used by the ancient Maya to keep track of time. Although it was no longer regularly used after the Spanish Conquest, today it can still be used to help us understand Maya culture and mythology. 

The Maya believed that time was divided into a series of cycles, each lasting for a certain period of time. By tracking the progress of these cycles, they were able to make predictions about the future and tell when important events would take place. 

The Maya calendar is also rich with symbolism, and many of the symbols used in its design have specific meanings. For example, the sun-god Kinich Ahau is often represented as a jaguar, while the god of death, Ah Puch, is usually depicted as a skeleton. Understanding the symbolism of the calendar can help us to better understand Maya culture and beliefs.

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