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It appears that all anyone has been talking about is the end of the world, misinterpretations aside (at least I hope so) my understanding that this is simply the end of an age of the Mayan calendar.

Given the Mayans were great astronomers and (I believe) their calendar to be based on the stars is there a reason that the age ends on the Winter Solstice (21/12/2012) or is it just coincidence?

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No, it is not an accidental coincidence. It is a should-to-be coincidence. The Winter Solstice is a natural start/end of a year. Of course, the end of the current period of the Mayan calendar should coincide with the end of the year. Their calendar consists of cycles, as the Asian one. (Linear calendar, instead of cycle ones, is the European invention.) And cycles consist of the whole years, from start to end.

Their calendar was good enough to fit the planetary movements for thousand of years - that is the only explanation of the "coincidence".

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