Monday, January 16, 2012

Belize unveils its Maya 2012 Celendar

On Wednesday, January, 11th the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) alongside the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) launched the Maya 2012 Calender of Events. The event was held at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts in Belize City.
The opening entertainment definitely set the mood for the event. The harmonious melodies of Maya music filled the air from an amazing flutist, Pablo Collado who certainly kept a captive audience not only with his melodies, but also with his talented handiwork on the flute.
The Otaxa Deer Dancers certainly entertained the attendees with the traditional Mayan Deer Dance. They were accompanied by marimba music and the flute. The Maya Deer Dance symbolizes the important relationships between humanity and nature and was evident in the variety of masks worn by the dancers. Some of the dancers wore masks of the faces of men and women, and others wore masks with the faces of the deer, jaguar, monkey among others. All the dancers wore clothing that was very colorfully adorned.
After the opening entertainment, Pablo Collado once again played a beautiful rendition of the Belize National Anthem on his flute and was followed by a prayer by Reverend Canon Leroy Flowers.
Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia gave the welcome address and invited everyone to enjoy the night's festivities. Minister Heredia's keynote was that Belize is the Heartland of the Maya.
Hon. Manuel Heredia was followed by none other than Dr. Jaime Awe, who is Belize's Director at the Institute of Archaeology. Dr. Awe has been in the field of archaeology for over 30 years. Dr. Jaime Awe has been one of Belize's pioneering and most prominent archaeologists and has worked on many of Belize's major excavations. Dr. Jaime Awe, however, did not want to take away any accolades from the guest of the evening, Dr. Mark Van Stone who was yet to present his topic of the evening. "What The Mayas Actually Said About 2012".
Then came time for the unveiling of the calendar of events for the Maya 2012 Calendar. I must admit that the calendar is filled with many events covering various parts of the country and numerous activities. There are great events scheduled for each month of the year 2012. President of NICH and Chairperson of the 2012 Committee, Ms. Diane C. Haylock, definitely stressed the importance of this years activities for 2012 and the goals they are trying to achieve by having such activities. Ms. Diane Haylock made mention again of Belize being the Heartland of the Maya. Belize is unique among its neighbors of the Mundo Maya because here, a visitor can easily experience several of the Maya sites in one day as the distances between sites are relatively small and there is a high concentration of Maya sites within Belizen borders. In most countries of the Mundo Maya, the archaeological sites are separated by long distances.  Then came time for Ms. Diane Haylock to unveil the Maya 2012 Passport. A phenomenal deal is being offered where for the price of visiting two Maya ruins you get an opportunity to visit ten different Maya sites. You can get your 2012 Maya Passport stamped as you visit the different sites around Belize.
The Belize Tourism Board then officially launched its website for this year Maya 2012. You can see the website here: The website is very informative so feel free to take a look.

Before the lecture began the attendees were treated to mouth watering Maya dishes including, corn panades, tamales, chicken cooked in 'col' which is a richly spiced tomato and corn based sauce, and dukunu as well as a delicious array of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits. The Otaxa Deer Dancers took to the stage entertaining the audience as they flowed into the Center for Performing Arts Auditorium for the lecture by Dr. Mark Van Stone.
Dr Jaime Awe then introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Dr. Mark Van Stone who was to present, "What The Ancient Maya Actually Said About 2012".  Dr. Mark Van Stone is a Maya expert specializing in Maya Hieroglyphs and calligraphy. Van Stone’s books include “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya” inspired by Maya inscriptions, astronomical knowledge, math, and myth, and “Reading the Maya Glyphs”. Responding to the recent upsurge in interest in “the Maya prophecies”, Prof. Mark Van Stone has spent the last several years researching what the Ancient Maya actually said about 2012.
Dr. Van Stone made sure to mention that nowhere in the history of the Maya is a doomsday prophecy emphasized, but they did, in fact, mention of a renewal period and a change in the Maya Calendar from a short period calendar to a long period calendar. There is also evidence from the the Maya history found on stellaes, that life and history actually continue to 4772 A.D. as can be seen below in the photo. He believes that the Sosltices were not as important to the Maya as we believe they were. He also made mention that with only 1% of the Maya civilization being unearthed that there is not much data and still so much more that we need to learn about the mystical and ancient civilization of the Maya. Dr. Mark Van Stone said that whatever data have been unearthed are contradictory since the Maya did not believe in correcting errors. The Maya did not change errors because they saw it as a sign from the gods that it was meant to be so. Maya scholars also disagree on the information that has been found and their interpretations.

The Maya 2012 Calender of events is shown below:

One of the very special events taking place this year on the calender is a very new and unique concept in Belize. The date 12-12-12 offers a great opportunity for 36 lucky couples, who are interested in being a part of the mysticism of the Maya, to get married or renew their vows on the ancient Maya Ruin of Cahal Pech in the Cayo District of Belize. This once in a lifetime event is being spearheaded by Lara Goldman of Romantic Travel Belize. For more information visit 2012 Maya Weddings.


  1. It's rather sad that the BTB Maya 2012 website includes 2 photos of Tikal. As far as I know Tikal is still in Guatemala. With all the Maya sites Belize has it is disappointing that the BTB could not get pictures from other sites in Belize. I thought this website is for promoting Belize.

  2. It is sadder for the Maya in Belize to yet again witness their 'cultural prostitution'. This is the essence of euro-western mentality - dooms day upon the Indigenous peoples! We cannot be adorn only for capitalistic motives. Belize and its agencies need to begin pumping as much energy as they are doing for the 2012 calendar psych into recognizing that the Maya are alive and once again growing in numbers.

  3. I would ask, how are the Mayan communities of the Toledo District benefitting from all of this? Or is this another occurrence in a long line of exploiting the Mayan peoples for material and economic reasons? The Mayan people are not a decoration to be hung on the door for the tourism industry, they must be involved directly and openly in the development of any aspects of tourism that draws from their glorious history and current importance as members of the international community.

    Benjamin Osborne