lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel


This month marks an historic moment for Mayans in Cozumel and the rest of the Mayan world.

On December 21, a new period called a baktun is thought to begin in the Mayan calendar, an event only comparable in recent times with the new millennium in 2000.

The Mayan calendar - properly called the "Calendar Round" - doesn't use the standard 12 month year like the modern western world's Gregorian calendar, but employs other measures instead.

Their ingenious timekeeping system uses 260-day tzolkins and 360-day tuns, made up of 18 "months" of 20 days. Every 400 tuns - or 144,000 days - a baktun is completed and a new one starts, this is the historic moment everyone is waiting for this month.

Cozumel Maya tours
Amazing Mayan culture and history.

To keep in step with the earth's orbit around the sun, 5 "days without name" are added to a tun to make a haab of 365 days. Although very different to the calendar most people are used to, the overall result needs little adjustment and keeps remarkably in sync with our planet's movement and other astronomical measures.

End Of The World?

Hollywood would have you believe that Mayans think the world will end on December 21, 2012. The plot-spoiling fact is that this simply isn't true.

Academics and even Mayans themselves may disagree on exactly what the important date means, but the vast majority see it as a moment for change and renewal, as a new epoch begins.

Mayan tours Cozumel
Learn about Mayan history in Cozumel.

The new baktun can be viewed as an opportunity for improvement, a chance to start things afresh, but doom and destruction don't receive a mention.

Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

If you're lucky enough to be in Cozumel during December it's well worth taking this unique opportunity to learn more about the marvelous Mayan culture that perfected the fantastically punctual calendar.

It's possible to visit Chichen Itza in a day from the island, one of the Mayan world's largest archaeological sites with a deep and rich history.

Cozumel Chichen Itza tour
Visit Chichen Itza in a day from Cozumel.

On another scale is San Gervasio, Cozumel's very own ancient Mayan site. It doesn't have the enormous pyramid and structures that you can find in Chichen Itza, but it still has plenty to offer and teaches a lot about Mayan history. You can visit it on a Jeep tour, a Dune buggy trip, your own private excursion or in a rental car.

Or, if you want a truly Mayan experience, why not try a temazcal, a ritual steam bath that is steeped in years of Mayan history and could help you renew your spirit, just as the baktun renews itself this month too.

Cozumel Steam Lodge Tour
A temazcal - or ritual Mayan steam bath.

And whether you're in Cozumel or not, you can learn more about the true importance of December 21, 2012, in the excellent Kindle ebook "2012: Everything you need to know to understand what all the fuss is about", written by local Cozumel author Ric Hajovsky.

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