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Everybody says the Mayans predicted the end of the world towards the end of 2012. No, they didn't. The Mayan calandar is actually kind of complex, but one of the simpler ways the Mayans wrote dates was by counting days up to groups of 20, and up to 18 of those groups in a larger group of 360 days, just about a year. The Mayans liked multiples of 20 as much as modern society likes multiples of 10, by the way. Anyway, those year-ish periods were grouped into packs of 20, and those packs grouped into even bigger groups of 20, which archeologists call a baktun. A baktun is about 394 years long, and this December, we're going to hit the end of the 13th baktun. That's pretty much it.
But what are these baktuns counting up from? Here's where it gets interesting. The Mayans didn't just start counting the first baktun when they invented this system of writing dates. Similar to that monk who figured out how long it had been since Jesus was born and allowed us to start numbering the years, (that started sometime in the 600s, by the way) the Mayans believed Creation had occurred a few thousand years in the past, so the first baktun was actually a time before the Mayans were around.
Sorry, here's where it gets interesting. The Mayans believed that we're actually living in the fourth creation. Apparently the first creation wasn't good, so the gods tried again until they got it right. The third creation lasted — get this — exactly 13 baktuns before the gods gave up on it and started this one. The Mayans seemed to think the number 13 was special too, by the way.
So how's creation doing this year? Is it good, or are the Mayan gods going to hit the big reset button again? It's possible that this December, we'll really see Judgement Day — not some spacey planetary alignment or gravitational shift, but literally judgement passed down from the gods themselves. That is, if the Mayans were right. About the gods and creation. And even then it's just a maybe. As far as I know, the Mayans themselves (yes, they still exist) aren't expecting the world to end this December.