WBEZ | mayans http://www.wbez.org/tags/mayans Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No apocalypse? Chicago residents can tell you why http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/no-apocalypse-chicago-residents-can-tell-you-why-104520 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/halseike_mayan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>You&rsquo;ve heard it all: 2012, apocalypse, end of the world, blah blah blah. But for some Guatemalans and Mexicans in Chicago, December 21 is a time of celebration that has nothing to do with doomsday prophecies.</p><p>In the Mayan tradition December 21 is a major turning of the calendar, the end of an approximately 394-year-long cycle called a Bak&rsquo;tun. It&rsquo;s the 13th Bak&rsquo;tun of the Mayan calendar era, and some say this era will be only 13 Bak&rsquo;tuns long. Translation: time for a new world.</p><p>But in reality, December 21 more closely resembles Y2K than the John Cusack movie &ldquo;2012.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a big, huge renewal with numeric and astrological significance. Only one Mayan text suggests that it&rsquo;s the end of the world, and people of Mayan descent are more likely to be celebrating than stocking up on bottled water and firearms.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72090955&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;This is a time of reflection and to see what we have done with our lives, with mother nature, and how are we going to move forward in this new era,&rdquo; said Hugo Hun, the Guatemalan consul general of Chicago. He said many Guatemalans will travel to large ceremonies in 13 different cities throughout Guatemala.</p><p>The Bak&rsquo;tun events are also a tourist attraction, but some are concerned that the doomsday hullaballoo is commercializing the Mayan culture.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The living Mayans are systematically losing the way they used to live and their beliefs as well,&rdquo; Akaze Yotzin said.</p><p>He&rsquo;s the leader of a Chicago group called Nahualli that practices and studies indigenous Mexican traditions. He said poverty and racial stereotypes already endanger Mayan identity in Mexico, and stressed that Mayans are not an ancient people, but a people who are alive today. Nahualli held a ceremony Friday morning at the American Indian Center to celebrate the winter solstice and the turning of the calendar.</p><p><strong>Music and mathematics</strong></p><p>Ancient Mayan culture gave great significance to math and numbers, and the number 13 is considered particularly powerful. The complex numerology of the Mayan calendar system inspired Chicago musician Juan Dies, who produced a song called &quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; with his band Sones de Mexico.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72124780&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; features 13 parts, each carefully planned to highlight numerology.&nbsp;For example, the second part is in 2/4 time and uses two instruments. The thirteenth has 13 instruments playing in 13/8 time. And guess what - the song is 13 minutes long.</p><p>Dies said the date is important and also misrepresented. His song is part of an effort to correct that. Sones de Mexico has been together for nearly twenty years studying and reinterpreting traditional Mexican music. The tenth part of &quot;13 Bak&#39;tun&quot; features Chicago poet Carlos Mejia performing a poem in&nbsp;Quiche Mayan. According to Dies, Mejia traveled to Guatemala for Dec. 21, 2012 to join the Bak&#39;tun celebrations.</p><p>&quot;I think the Mayans are seeing it today as a closure of a long cycle, very much as we saw the end of our millenium,&quot; Dies said. &quot;Along with that comes an opportunity to renew yourself, to look back at the achievements of the last four hundreds years, and how you may make changes or improvements or a rebirth in the new Bak&rsquo;tun.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/no-apocalypse-chicago-residents-can-tell-you-why-104520 Good times for the end time! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/good-times-end-time-104505 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2092646502_6f0c53d04b_z_1.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Mayan Calendar - Aztec Stone of the Sun, on display at the Field Museum (flickr/insert screen name here)" /></div><p>With a winter storm about to put the smackdown on the Chicago region, we&rsquo;ve probably got better things to worry about than the <a href="http://gawker.com/5970195/you-know-who-doesnt-believe-the-world-is-ending-tomorrow-the-maya">Mayans</a> and this calendar completion craziness. But if the world were to come to an end at the stroke of midnight tonight - or if we make it to see another day &ndash; here&#39;s a pair of damn fine ways to celebrate.&nbsp;</p><p>1. Beer! <a href="http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/Home.aspx">Louis Glunz Brewery </a>has been in business a long time now: One of America&#39;s oldest breweries (and the world&#39;s oldest distributor of <a href="http://forgottenchicago.com/features/tied-houses/">Schlitz)</a> will celebrate 125 years in business in 2013. So no wonder its proprietors aren&rsquo;t shaken by end-of-the-world predictions.</p><p>In fact they&rsquo;ll celebrate tonight by rolling out fresh kegs of La Fin du Monde (which translates as The End of the World), a triple-style golden ale from the Quebec brewery <a href="http://www.unibroue.com/en/unibroue/history">Unibroue</a>. The beer is apparently named for early European explorers who upon discovering North America felt they&#39;d come to the end of all things - how&#39;s that for backhand praise? And according to the Unibroue website, La Fin has also won more awards than any other Canadian beer. It is a pioneer of sorts: Long before Americans got wild about craft beer, Unibroue started churning out Belgian-inspired beers with fanciful names (one of my favorites is Maudite, a lovely bit of QuebeƧois slang I won&#39;t translate here). Oh, and full disclosure: I have the brewery to thank for many of my college-era hangovers.</p><p><a href="http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/EventDescription.aspx?id=189">Fourteen </a>of Chicago&rsquo;s fine drinking establishments will tap a keg of La Fin at the stroke of midnight. I suggest you raise your glass at <a href="http://www.chibarproject.com/Reviews/Weegee's/Weegee's.html">Weegee&rsquo;s Lounge</a> in Chicago&rsquo;s Logan Square. The bar is owned by Alex Huebner, a School of the Art Institute photography graduate, and is named for the famed <a href="http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/weegee-murder-my-business">New York City photographer Arthur Felig</a>. Felig, who worked under the alias Weegee, was an ambulance chaser of a shutterbug. He made his reputation documenting mayhem: the carnage of fires, murder, automobile wrecks. Some of his photographs are hanging in his namesake bar, so while savoring your brew you can contemplate his lurid-realist view on the world. No doubt they&#39;ll create the correct sensibility and atmosphere for pondering the end.</p><p><em>End of the World Toast with La Fin Du Monde, Thursday night, various locations</em></p><p>2. Drums! <a href="http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Hamid_Drake.html">Hamid Drake</a> and <a href="http://michaelzerang.com/">Michael Zerang</a> have been performing their <a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">winter solstice concert</a> for 22 years now. Over three mornings, in Link Hall&rsquo;s relatively sparse but cozy space, Drake and Hamid greet the dawn, the occasional El train rumbling by right outside the second-story window, and whatever lucky group of sleepy residents has managed to both secure a ticket and drag themselves out of bed for the 6 a.m. performances.</p><p>The winter solstice (which is either December 20<sup>th</sup> or 21<sup>st</sup>) is the shortest day, and thus longest night, of the year. Australians are just starting to celebrate the summer vacay, but the North Pole is shrouded in darkness. We are as far from the sun as we&rsquo;ll be all year, but of course this cusp of a day also marks the moment the sun begins its slow return, like a glimmer of hope as deepest winter settles in.</p><p>The yin and yang, double-edged sword nature of the solstice is reflected in the Drake-Zerang duo. Drake is a disciplined drummer. Watching him during a recent performance with a jazz trio at the Green Mill, I thought his technique is like the percussive equivalent of circular breathing: He creates a deep, rolling rhythm that seems to have no beginning, no end. At the solstice performances, I always find myself waiting for that moment when he&rsquo;ll move from performing his hand drum on the floor to settling behind his full drum kit.</p><p>Zerang is more sprite-like with his instruments, treating the surface of his hand drum and full kit as spaces to be explored and expanded upon, rather than as rigid confines. And did I mention the gongs? Zerang is like a jedi knight of gongs. I can&rsquo;t stress enough how magical, transcendental and yet grounding this experience is. So in classic end-time fashion, defy the early hour, cold and possible snow drifts and get you there!</p><p><em>22<sup>nd</sup> Annual Winter Solstice Concerts, Friday through Sunday, Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield Ave.</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 12:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/good-times-end-time-104505