Mayan New Year is celebrated in accordance to Mayan Calendar. Mayan calendar is very much different from the commonly used Georgian calendar.
As against the 365 days of Georgian calendar, Mayan calendar has only 360 days in its year. Also, against 12 months of Georgian calendar of 30, 31, or 28 days, a Mayan calendar has 18 months of 20 days each.
One extra month of five day which is called as ‘Wayeb’ is also put in to match the solar year. In the unnamed days (also called as ‘time out of time’ by Mayans) of this nineteenth month, certain rituals are meant to be followed.
According to Georgian calendar, Mayan New Year falls around the month of July. It is profoundly followed and celebrated by the natives of Guatemalan towns. Also prominently called as “arrival of the Mam”, New Year in Mayan is considered to be one of the prominent celebration time for them, on the lines of their one more sacred day, called as 8 B’atz’ or 8 Cheun in Yucatec. Though, the celebrations involved are comparatively not as intense and vibrant as it is in 8 B’atz’. Mayan New Year is more of a family affair, which is celebrated quietly and gently by its believers.
Traditional New Year Celebrations in Mayan
According to traditions of Mayans, there are number of deities who are followed and worshipped. Each coming year is dedicated to a certain God. As a part of the celebrations to welcome New Year, new idols and images of the concerned deity are prepared well in advance. Also, entrances and trappings of all temples and sacred places are deconsecrate and are painted blue.
Blue is considered as a sacred color by Mayan followers. There is a belief that once everything is put into place as per customs and traditions; the concerned God enters through a direction, which has traditionally been associated with that concerned deity. Other than this, there are few other prominently followed New Yeas traditions in Mayan such as people pull down old pottery and fiber mats, buy themselves new clothes, put up new hat, and carry the traditional Mayan bag.
The core of the New Year celebrations as made by Mayans revolves around celebrating the phase with which life has gone a full circle, to arrive at a New Year. To signify the same aspect in their celebrations, several rituals and traditions are followed. Mayan New Year is also a time when ceremonies are conducted to introduce new priests to the priests’ community, by making them engage into community services.
Other than various traditional ceremonies, one can also witness a not-so-intense reflection of modern day celebrations. As a part of it, baseball games are played, and social fire ceremonies are organized during the month of Wayeb. Sunrise and sunset ceremonies are another prominent part of celebrations. Other than that, few mid day celebration ceremonies are organized around the Lake Atitlán. During this time, people love to dance to welcome the New Year. People show gratitude to the past time of the previous year, and build up an optimistic attitude towards the New Year to arrive.