Mayan Calendar vs. Gregorian Calendar

  • comments 10
  • views29,371

Difference between Mayan Calendar and Gregorian Calendar

As far as calendars go, the most familiar names in history are the Mayan calendar and the Gregorian calendar. While the Gregorian calendar–or a variation–is the one that is still primarily in use today, the Mayan calendar has a number of characteristics that make it relevant to this very day. This comparison goes into the most significant characteristics of each.

Mayan Calendar
Gregorian Calendar


The Mayan calendar is the name given to a system of calendars that originated from the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. The calendar can also be traced to various Maya communities found in Guatemala and Mexico.

The Mayan calendar is actually based on a system that had been used as far back as 6 BC, or possibly even earlier. It shares a number of characteristics with other Mesoamerican calendars, like the Zapotec and Olmec calendars. There is currently quite a buzz circulating around the Mayan calendars predictions for the changing of ages in 2012, which spawned to creation of the movie 2012 among other things. The calendar has it’s roots in the belief that our Sun is revolving around the great central Sun of the Milky Way galaxy. 12/21/2012 marks a 1/4 revolution around the central sun which heralds the entrance of our Sun and Earth into a new great solar cycle.

The Gregorian calendar for its part is the present internationally accepted calendar, and it is largely based on a reform of the Julian calendar and the lunar cycle previously used by the Church. The Gregorian calendar carries on the year-numbering system that was in widespread use previously, which itself was based on the Anno Domini system of counting. 

Length And Variation

In the Gregorian calendar, one year has an average length of about 365.2425 days, and there is a variation of .0003. In comparison, the Mayan calendar has an average length of about 365.2420 days and a variation of .0002.


The Mayan calendar was actually developed from three calendars used by the Mayans, all of which used a system based on the cycles of days of varying lengths. These calendars are the Long Count calendar, the Haab, and the Tzolkin. What all these Mayan calendars have in common is that they are based on the serial counting of days, without regard for means for synchronization with the Sun or the Moon. That being the case, the Long Count and Haab calendars both contain 360 and 365-day cycles respectively.

The Gregorian calendar on the other hand was first implemented by Pope Gregory XIII as mentioned earlier, and it was in fact named after this religious leader of the Catholic church. It is interesting to note that the Gregorian calendar was actually adopted at different times by different countries. Britain and the United States only switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1752 for example. 


Mayan calendar

  • A system of calendars used by Mayan civilizations
  • Also used in modern-day Mayan communities
  • Roots can be traced to as far back as the 6th century BC
  • Based on the Sun’s revolution around the great central Sun, Alcyo
  • n2012 marks the entrance into a new great solar age, Ahua
  • Similar to calendars used by other civilizations
  • Did not actually originate from the Mayans, although they played a significant role in its development
  • Some of the best-documented and widely used calendars 

Gregorian calendar

  • Internationally accepted to his day 
  • Introduced by and named after Pope Gregory XIII
  • Drawn from the Julian calendar and the lunar cycle calendar

Explanation of the Mayan Calendar


History of the Gregorian Calendar

Which calendar system is more accurate?
  • Mayan Calendar
  • Gregorian Calendar

comments 10 Comments

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*