Mayan calendar gods

An Introduction to the Mayan Calendar
October 24, 2018 – 12:01 pm
The Mayan Calendar, gods


The Mayan calendar, in its full glory, is probably the most complicated calendar based on integer arithmetic that has ever existed. While lunar and lunisolar calendars do exist that are very complex, most of them are based on observation, as in starting a month when the moon is in a particular stage, or on floating point calculations that for all practical purposes simply replace such observation. The Maya did not have algebra, but they had an enormous advantage over many calendar-builders in the old world in that they invented zero.

The Mayan calendar is composed of many elements:

The, a 260-day interlocking cycle of 13 numbers and 20 day names; The, a 365-day year, also known as the vague year since the haab drifts in relation to the seasons. This is a linear cycle of 18 “months” of 20 days, plus a terminal 5-day “month.” The Maya made no attempt to synchronize the seasons and the haab, unlike the Gregorian calendar in widespread use today; The Long Count, an exact count of days from a zero point, usually referenced to Wed Aug 13, -3, 113 (Gregorian Style), or Wed Sep 8, 3, 114 BC (Julian Style). This assumes a Correlation Constant of 584285, the revised GMT correlation; A perpetual cycle of ; An 819-day cycle of 4 colors and 4 directions and their corresponding gods; Numerous other cycles and ritual periods, to be discussed later.

The tzolk’in comprises:

  • The trecena (Spanish “thirteen”), a cycle of 13 numbers that starts with 1 and ends with 13;
  • The veintena (Spanish “twenty”), a cycle of 20 day names that starts with ’Imix and ends with ’Ahaw.

The tzolk’in is also known as The Sacred Almanac.

The Trecena (“13”)
A Cycle of 13 Numbers
(Normal/Head Variants)
The Veintena (“20”)
A Cycle of 20 Names




’Imix, 1

’Ik’, 2

Ak’bal, 3

K’an, 4




Chik’chan, 5

Kimi, 6

Manik’, 7

Lamat, 8




Muluk, 9

Ok, 10

Chuwen, 11

’Eb, 12




Ben, 13

’Ix, 14

Men, 15

K’ib, 16


Kaban, 17

’Etz’nab, 18

Kawak, 19

’Ahaw, 0

The basic idea is that a starting position in the cycle is chosen, and after each day elapses, each component of the tzolk’in is incremented. The Maya calendar tzolk’in begins on a day one ’Imix; the second day of the cycle is, therefore, two ’Ik, and the last day of the 260-day cycle is 13 ’Ahaw.

The haab, or “vague year, ” is exactly 365 days long (only a rough approximation to the solar year, which is why it’s called the vague year) and is made up of:

  • Haab days; the day of the haab month numbered from 0-19 (or in the case of the final month of the year, 0-4); and
  • Haab months; 18 named 20-day periods and a final, 5-day period. The names of the months are shown below, along with their glyphs and the usual numbering convention used in calendrical calculations (i.e., 0-18).

The Haab is also known as The Civil Year.

The Haab Months
18 20-day Months + 5-day Intercalary Period

Pohp, 0

Wo, 1

Sip, 2

Sots, 3

Sek, 4

Xul, 5

Yaxk’in, 6

Mol, 7

Ch’en, 8

Yax, 9

Sak, 10

Keh, 11

Mak, 12

K’ank’in, 13

Muwan, 14

Pax, 15

K’ayab, 16
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