The Maya Calendar – Part 4 – The Calendar Round

This post “The Maya Calendar” is an excerpt of the 2nd edition of my book “The Maya Sites – Hidden Treasures of the Rain Forest”, a travel guide to the most important Maya sites on the Yucatán peninsula – in México and Guatemala. The 2nd edition will be published as print and ebook in spring 2018.

I split this article into seven parts:

The Calendar Round

The calendar round is the third type of calendar used by the Maya. It is basically nothing more than the combination of the two calendars Haab and Tzolkin.

For this purpose, the two calendars were turned against each other like two interlocked gears and the respective calendar entries were combined.

First, the date from the Tzolkin calendar is noted. Second, the corresponding date of the Haab calendar is added.

A simple date of the calendar round would look like this:

2 Ik 0 Pop

The next day would be

3 Akbal 1 Pop

And the next following day would be

4 Kan 2 Pop

The easiest way to understand the Calendar Round is to imagine the days of Tzolkin and Haab  located on two different sized, meshing gears. Every day, both wheels turn further by one tooth.

The Maya Calendar - the Calendar Round - how the date is created
The Maya Calendar – the Calendar Round – how the date is created

Since the two cycles of the Haab and Tzolkin have different lengths, the combination of the two calendar systems gives unique day names.

These day names repeat only after 52 Haab years or after 18,980 days.

This method is quite useful for recording short periods of time. But if you want to document longer periods over several generations, then the system reaches its limits soon. Therefore, the Maya used an additional system: The Long Count.

Continue with >>> The Maya calendar – Part 5 – The Long Count

Christian Schoen

Christian Schoen is a globetrotter, travel writer and author of the very successful travel guide "The Maya Sites - Hidden Treasures of the Rain Forest". He loves to visit temples, pyramids and any kind of ancient ruins. The SLR in his hand, he can be met on adventurous hiking tours in tropical jungle landscapes - sometimes - or just somewhere in his neighbourhood, the Black Forest Mountains in Germany.