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The Haabʼ (Mayan pronunciation: [haːɓ]) is part of the Maya calendric system. It was a 365-day calendar used by many of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica.


Haabʼ months: names in glyphs[1] in sequence
Name of
glyph meaning No.
Name of
glyph meaning
1 Pop 𝋠 mat 10 Yax 𝋠 green storm
2 Woʼ 𝋠 black conjunction 11 Sakʼ 𝋠 white storm
3 Sip 𝋠 red conjunction 12 Keh 𝋠 red storm
4 Sotzʼ 𝋠 bat 13 Mak 𝋠 enclosed
5 Sek 𝋠 death 14 Kʼankʼin 𝋠 yellow sun
6 Xul 𝋠 dog 15 Muwan 𝋠 owl
7 Yaxkʼin 𝋠 new sun 16 Pax 𝋠 planting time
8 Mol 𝋠 water 17 Kʼayabʼ 𝋠 turtle
9 Chʼen 𝋠 black storm 18 Kumkʼu 𝋠 granary
        19 five unlucky days

The Haabʼ comprises eighteen months of twenty days each, plus an additional period of five days ("nameless days") at the end of the year known as Wayeb' (or Uayeb in 16th-century orthography).

Bricker (1982) estimates that the Haabʼ was first used around 500 BCE with a starting point of the winter solstice.[2]

The Haabʼ month names are most commonly referred to by their names in colonial-era Yucatec (Yukatek). In sequence, these (in the revised orthography[3]) are as seen on the right: Each day in the Haabʼ calendar was identified by a day number within the month followed by the name of the month. Day numbers began with a glyph translated as the "seating of" a named month, which is usually regarded as day 0 of that month, although a minority treat it as day 20 of the month preceding the named month. In the latter case, the seating of Pop is day 5 of Wayebʼ. For the majority, the first day of the year was Seating Pop. This was followed by 1 Pop, 2 Pop ... 19 Pop, Seating Wo, 1 Wo and so on.

Inscriptions on The Temple of the Cross at Palenque shows clearly that the Maya were aware of the true length of the year, even though they did not employ the use of leap days in their system of calculations generally. J. Eric Thompson[4] wrote that the Maya knew of the drift between the Haabʼ and the solar year and that they made "calculations as to the rate at which the error accumulated, but these were merely noted as corrections they were not used to change the calendar."

5 unlucky days[edit]

The five nameless days at the end of the calendar, called Wayebʼ, was thought to be a dangerous time. Foster (2002) writes "During Wayeb, portals between the mortal realm and the Underworld dissolved. No boundaries prevented the ill-intending deities from causing disasters." To ward off these evil spirits, the Mayans had customs and rituals they practised during Wayebʼ. For example, the Mayans would not leave their homes and wash their hair.


  1. ^ Kettunen and Helmke (2005), pp.47–48
  2. ^ Zero Pop actually fell on the same day as the solstice on −575 December 27, −574 December 27, −573 December 27, and −572 December 26 (astronomical year numbering, Universal Time), if one does not account for the fact that the Maya region is in roughly time zone UT−6. See "IMCCE seasons". Archived from the original on 2012-08-23.
  3. ^ Again, per Kettunen and Helmke (2005)
  4. ^ J. Eric Thompson (1971). Maya Hieroglyphic Writing. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-8061-0958-0.