Some people believe cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21st 2012, as this is the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Maya calendar. However, many scholars dismiss this idea. We will look into the myths and the possibilities on "Daily Planet: End Of The World?!!" Special episode this Thursday December 20th. Don't miss it (unless you'll be in your safety bunker)! Meanwhile, here are some facts you may not know about the Maya people:
Maya hung little balls of resin between young children's eyes to coach them cross-eyed. Being cross-eyed was considered to be a mark of distinction.
The Maya used Jade, turquoise and iron for inlays (teeth), was more often than not to beautify the mouth.
Very important for their foreheads and nose to be in-line. They would put a board on the front and back of a baby's head and tied them together to flatten the baby's forehead. The boards were left on for several days or weeks. The ideal was for forehead and nose to run along same line in profile.
Maya Maize God wore jade jewelry -jade comes primarily from the Mantagua Valley in the southeastern Guatemala, stone considered a precious object, identified with water, sky, vegetation and life because of its green/blue colors.
Cacao beans were used as currency. Counterfeits were made from pottery or empty Cacao beans.
The consumed chocolate in a liquid form, drank it in a foaming liquid form, considered a drink of the elite. Cinnamon and chili were often added, but no sugar.
Mayas believed the human race was made out of ground corn and penitential blood. Their sacred book, Popol Vuh, the gods tried to make humans out of mud, wood and rushes first.
Pulque, an alcoholic beverage: vitamin rich milky liquid extracted from the maguey plant identified with mother's mild and was mixed with certain roots to increase potency. After fermentation, pulque is often spiced with chilies or herbs and can still be bought today.
Marigolds were ancient offerings to the dead and are still a primary offering on the Day of the Dead: celebrated on Nov. 1st. The marigold death association may have come from the Central Mexican goddess Coyolxauhqui. She wore a garland of marigolds.
The water-filled underworld, Xibalba, was entered through caves. Caves were the primary sites of rituals performed to honor underworld gods and played a key role in creation. Xibalba was regarded as a place of fright.
Royalty would self-sacrifice by using urchin needles and stingrays among other sharpened tools to draw blood. It was said gods drew their own blood to create humanity, s
o humans had to make the same bloody sacrifice in return.
Mayas conceived the Milky Way as the road to the underworld and the gods. The stars mimicked the movements of the underworld inhabitants.
Cigar or sicar, meaning "to smoke rolled tobacco leaves" is a Mayan word. Tobacco, called nicotiana, was either chewed or smoked. Often the tobacco was mixed with lime to increase the effects of nicotine.
No title for priesthood has yet been recognized in deciphering of Mayan hieroglyphics. The Maya ruler served as the chief priest, protecting his subjects and interpreting divine signs. The Maya ruler was both the political and the religious leader of his people.
The surviving version of the Popol Vuh is written using the Latin alphabet, it has been instrumental in reconstructing the history and mythology of the Maya.
On stone carvings Classic Mayan is written in the third person singular, instead of "I scattered droplets of water" the Maya would say "he scattered droplets of water".
The Maya had five different directions: the four cardinal directions and a central position in the midst of the other four directions, they also assigned colors: white, red, yellow, black and green.
The Maya used a system based on multiples of 20 (called the vigesimal counting system). Its use of zero is the earliest known instance of this mathematical concept.
Maya used Long Count, a system starting at a mythological zero date, which can be traced back to August 11, 3114 B.C.
The sacred ceiba tree was recognized as a living axis that penetrated the center of the Earth and reached from the underworld to the heavens. Trees were often found in the center of town and on its outskirts, marking directions and holding up the heavens.