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The years were given their name in much the same way as the days of the 260-day calendar, 20 names were paired with 13 numbers giving 52 different possibilities for year names The five unlucky days were called nemontemi in Mexico.Most believe them to have come at the end of each year, but since we do not know when the year started, we cannot know for sure.This cycle was used for divination purposes to foretell lucky and unlucky days.The date of birth was also used to give names to both humans and gods in many Mesoamerican cultures; some cultures used only the calendar name whereas others combined it with a given name.It is postulated that midwives originally developed the calendar to predict babies' expected birth dates.
In the 260-day cycle 20 day names pairs with 13 day numbers, totalling a cycle of 260 days.
One theory is that the calendar came from mathematical operations based on the numbers thirteen and twenty, which were important numbers to the Maya. Another theory is that the 260-day period came from the length of human pregnancy.
This is close to the average number of days between the first missed menstrual period and birth, unlike Naegele's rule which is 40 weeks (280 days) between the last menstrual period and birth.
The sacred almanac may well have been set in motion on August 13, 1359 BCE, in Izapa.
In the post-classic Aztec calendar the periods of 13 days called in Spanish a trecena (no indigenous word for this period is known) were also important.
Apparently the earliest Mesoamerican calendar to be developed, it was known by a variety of local terms, and its named components and the glyphs used to depict them were similarly culture-specific.