Winter Solstice Brings Maya to Chichén Itzá, Kicks off Calendar Countdown

December 21st, 2011 by ejalbright

T-minus one year to the end of the Maya Long Count calendar, and indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America plan to gather today at Chichén Itzá to conduct purification ceremonies, reportedly to unite the races.

In the past, however, the groups have been barred from Chichén Itzá by INAH, the federal agency that oversees the ancient city.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Mexico and Central America were a diverse blend of indigenous tribes and cultures. According to the Yucatecan publication Punto Medio, representatives from the Maya, Mazahua Tlahuica, Nahuatl, Aztec, Otomi, Zapotec and Triqui will gather at Chichén Itzá today to dance and perform ceremonies from their respective cultures.

According to organizers, the event will seek to “unify the energies of the native races of America through dance and the sacred fire, in preparation to receive the New Age of the Maya, which will begin on December 21, 2012,” the newspaper reports. On that date the Maya Long Count calendar of more than 5,000 years will end.

The event will also demonstrate that the indigenous races of the region are thriving “despite the efforts that have been made to destroy them from colonization to the present.”

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year, and visitors to Chichén Itzá can witness the day play out in light and shadow against many of the archaeological sites restored buildings.

Late in the afternoon, the great pyramid El Castillo will be divided in half — two sides will be in sunlight and two sides purely in shadow, according to Mayanist Eddie Salazar Gamboa of Mérida, Yucatán.

Also, although not visible to tourists, one of the windows in the Maya observatory “El Caracol” is configured to allow the sun to shine in on this day.

Promoting 2012

Is this official? The state of Yucatán on its official web site is promoting this site, which deals with the end of the Maya calendar. As yet other than a nice logo and a few pages, there isn’t much in the way of content. But more is promised. Plus there is a nifty Maya calendar countdown clock.

A few days ago American Egypt speculated that there might be a big announcement today about the state and federal government’s promotion plans for 2012 as the last year of the Maya calendar kicks off, but so far there has been nothing. Expect more news as it develops.

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