Mayan civilization was seemingly obsessed with keeping track of time. This resulted in the invention of calendars, which had both secular and spiritual significance.
Ultimately, the Mayans developed two calendars: a ritual one, called "Tzolkin" which was used to calculate religious ceremonies, festivals, sacred times and to predict the destiny of individuals (like modern astrology). The Tzolkin calendar consisted of 13 numbers on an inner circle with 20 deities on an outer circle. The movement pattern is counterclockwise. The total number of days in this ritual calendar is 260
A second calendar was also used, It was solar-based and called "Haab", It contained 18 months of 20 days each, plus five unlucky days known as "uayeb". This time devise was likewise associated with deities.
Both calendars were used in conjunction with one another-like rotating wheels or gears. The solar year devise moved in clockwise fashion and was based on 365 days
Individual days were always referenced by using the ritual almanac. When the two calendars are used in synchronization as a method of referencing larger time periods was created. These units were known as "katuns" and consisted of 7200 days or 256 years. By using this dual system a specific day within a specific year can be pinpointed. This was often important for religious purposes since holy days were associated with astrological patterns and the movements or activities of celestial bodies (eclipses, equinoxes, planet cycles, etc).
The Mayans believed that the heavens foretold the destiny of people and the world and the world. Indeed, they thought the world had been repeatedly recreated in the past- with some great catastrophe destroying it previously. The same thing would happen again on December 23, 2012.