Winter is here and it’s the end of the world according to the Maya

This Wednesday marks the start of the Saturnalia celebrations. Saturnalia, the Roman mid-winter festival, was used by early Christians to hide their celebration of the Nativity. On Friday at 6:12 the “top of the earth”, the Arctic, is tilted the furthest away from the Sun. According to the Maya, the end of the world is also this Friday, on the 13th Bakt’un anniversary of the Maya Long Count calendar. In the sky: Evening planets: 6:15-6:30 Mars and Jupiter ‘bookend’ the main fall constellation Pegasus. Morning planets: 5:30 Saturn and Jupiter ‘bookend’ the main Spring constellation Leo. A short note: the grandfather of all TV astronomers, Sir Patrick Moore died last week – he had hosted the monthly BBC show ‘The Sky at Night’ for 50 years, the longest running program with a single host in the history of TV. He wrote dozens of books, inspired thousands to become astronomers, probably inspired millions to look at the night sky. His last program was broadcast last Monday. It’s believed that he was the only person to have met Orville Wright – the pioneer aviator, Yuri Gagarin- the first man in space and Neil Armstrong-the first man in the Moon.

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  • Todd

    Actually, Mr. Pitts mis-states the time of Jesus likely birth. He is correct that it doesn’t coincide with the Christmas holiday though. It’s well known that Jesus DIED in the spring, a date that the Biblical record carefully records, unlike his birth.

    (As a side note, the Biblical record also states Jesus’ age at his death – 33-1/2 years old – which would put his birth around Sept-Oct, which is attested to by its mention of shepherds and their flocks being out-of-doors at the time. Dec-Jan is a cold rainy season in that area during which the flocks would have been sheltered indoors overnight.)

    Early Christians were persecuted for refusing to participate in Roman worship. There’s no record of the earliest Christians celebrating anything related to Jesus around this time.

    Interestingly, feasting, the burning of candles, and the exchanging of gifts were characteristics of Saturnalia, which most historians agree was later ‘Christianized,’ leading to the modern holiday of Christmas.

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