As we enter into the holiday season at the end of the year, we find that today’s date, 4 Ajaw, recalls both the auspicious Long Count Era Base date of 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, and the culmination 13 Bak’tuns in December of 2012, already almost five years ago now. We have completed the very first Hotun of the New Era.
Firstly, I wanted to fully recognize all of the members of the PLFM Team on Ancient Maya Writing, who have successfully organized and carried out four Pre-Congreso events this year!
- Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj
- Ajpub’ Pablo García
- Saqijix Candelaria Ixcoy
- Hector Xol Choc
- María Beatriz Par
The final Pre-Congreso took place in Comitán, Chiapas late last month, and we look forward to reporting back to you about it in a future post.
Next, I would like to thank all of those who generously donated to our first #GivingTuesday fund drive! We appreciate all of your kind hearted support as we prepare for many exciting events in the coming year.
Later this month, I will be heading to Antigua, Guatemala to meet with the PLFM team to help coordinate our efforts for the coming year. Following this, in early January, I will be working together with Ernesto and Aurora Saqui, Manuel Bolon, and Felicita Cantun to host a Maya Writing Workshop for 16 participants in Maya Centre, Belize. I am looking forward to a productive start to the New Year!
This month, I would like to present an exciting report from events in the field in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer reports back to us about the colorful Public Exposition and Demonstration of Maya Hieroglyphic Writing by Maya Primary School Teachers of the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program.
From all of us at MAM, I wish you all a wonderful holiday, and a Happy New Year!
Michael J. Grofe, President
Report from the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
I present to you the report of activities carried out in the month of March of 2017 with a group of 25 Mayan language teachers of the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program of the State of Yucatán, who learned about Mayan glyphs in order to teach about them in the primary schools where they work, as well as photographs documenting these activities.
In March, there were two separate activities: the “Exhibition and Public Demonstration of Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing” and a “Mayan Glyph Workshop.”
Activity 1: On March 24, 2017, as part of the activities to celebrate the International Day of Mother tongues, a Mayan language reading marathon and hieroglyphic writing exhibition were organized, with the name “Yáax múuch’ xookil ich maaya t’aan yéetel u ye’esajil úuchben maaya ts’íib.” Its main purpose was to promote the reading in Mayan language and the ancient writing of our grandparents, sharing the works that the members of the group have done in different workshops on glyphs.
This event was held in the Esplanade of the Secretariat of Education of Yucatan from 9 am to 12 pm, and was attended by 200 teachers of Primary, Preschool and Initial Bilingual schools, 43 School Supervisors, 6 Heads of Education Region Indigenous, authorities of the Ministry of Education, as well as parents, students and the general public.
As part of the event, exhibition tables were set up for the works with glyphs made of different materials such as cloth, bond paper, cardboard, wood, and objects commonly used by the inhabitants of the state, such as jícaras, calabazos, and lekes, fruits from the Maya area. Once dried, they are adapted as containers to drink water or consume food. With these materials and products, paintings, napkins, centerpieces and other handicrafts or decorative elements were made.
The texts written with glyphs on those carriers were names of people, names of towns of origin of the participants, the glyphs of the tzolkin calendar, as well as the nawales of the participants. In total, 53 different products with Mayan hieroglyphic writing were exhibited.
Information was given about the objects’ preparation and support was offered to the participants learning to read glyphs, who were also taught how to use the syllabary to write short words.
For the Mayan language reading marathon, 38 readers from the different Indigenous Education School Zones participated. The activity ended with Feliciano Sánchez Chan, a well-known writer in the Mayan language in our state, who read some of his own texts for the event.
Activity 2: On March 30, 2017, a new workshop on Mayan glyphs was held for the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program, to further the group’s training on Mayan hieroglyphic writing and continue with their teaching. This activity was carried out in the computer room of the Common Use Building of the Ministry of Education, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was attended by the 25 members of the group.
First we took attendance, after which participants were given a snack with refreshments, coffee and cookies considering that some came from remote communities and had to travel from dawn to arrive at the set time.
The purpose of this workshop was to reinforce the group’s knowledge about the tzolkin calendar and to learn what a nawal is and how to determine the nawals of each participant.
-We began with a group activity, a game where questions were asked of the participants to remind them of what they know about the Mayan ha’ab and tzolkin calendars: their characteristics, the days that make up each one, their function, the names of the days of the tzolkin calendar and the way they relate to the 13 numerals to integrate the 260 days of this ritual calendar.
-As a second activity, we discussed the 20 glyphs of the tzolkin, using a PowerPoint presentation, to reinforce the meaning of each glyph or the element it represents. A dynamic discussion encouraged learning the 20 names of the glyphs.
-As a third activity, participants were given an explanation of the concept of the nawales, how they are determined and the function they fulfill from the perspective of Maya culture. It was concluded that in Maya thought the nawal is the spirit, energy or force of the beings and the elements of nature, and that all people have one that represents us and that defines the characteristics of our personality as an individual.
-After that, they were presented with an online program called “Calculate your Nawal Q’ij” on the Mayan wisdom page (sabiduriamaya.org), which allows a person to know his or her nawal by entering the date of his or her birth according to the Gregorian calendar; the procedure to use it was explained to them and a group completed the exercise.
-After each participant was assigned a computer with internet, they were asked to enter the page and identify their nawal and read the accompanying text that describes their personality, analyzing if it really corresponds to their person. Finally, each participant shared his or her protective nawal, along with the numeral and conclusions of the analysis of the text about his or her personality. Most agreed that what they read describes what they are really like as people.
As a last activity, participants were given pieces of raw blanket fabric (0.50 x 0.50), textile paint in various colors and brushes; they were instructed to make an artistic design of their nawal. At 2:00 in the afternoon the work day ended, leaving us to present the artistic designs in the next session.
As a commitment, it was agreed that what participants learned in this work session will be put into practice with their students, just as they have done in previous workshops.
Finally, a box lunch was provided to each of the participants, considering that most had to make a long trip back to their community.
Profr. Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer.