The Mayans did not account for the leap year, so this particular date is not the one in which their calendar ends.
That is what I heard
don't believe every captioned picture you see on facebook.
Mayans actually had three calendars: one that was essentially a solar calendar, another that was a religious calendar, and a third calendar that was used for keeping historical records. This third calendar is the only one that's relevant here, because this is the one that some people are using to predict the end of the universe.
This long-count calendar isn't a calendar as much as a counting system. You know how we use a base-10 counting system? (10, 100, 1000, 10,000 etc.) The Mayans used a modifed base-20 counting system for keeping track of days - the second cycle went up to 18 rather than 20. So they tracked days in cycles of 20, 360, 7200, 144000, 2880000, etc.
We're coming to the end of one of the 144,000 day cycles. The concept of leap-years is irrelevant to this calendar system, because it's not based on solar years, simply on pure math. I've got no opinion of whether the calculated date of Dec 12, 2012 as the end of the cycle is accurate. But if it is inaccurate, it's for reasons that have nothing to do with leap years.
[Edited by moderator dstates, 12/2/2012 5:27:49 PM]
I've heard that the only reason that most scholars say the Mayan calendar ended was because there was no more room to chisel (or whatever they did to write back then). Besides, what idiot would want to literally chisel out all possible dates? I would think that, from a logical standpoint, they would say enough...maybe figuring they'd come back later and add more (similar to what our loverly government officials do with the debt ceiling, but that's a whole 'nother argument).
Edit: After quick research, their calendars are disc in shape and are meant to be cyclical...not as linear time like Western and European thought goes. Think Asian life-cycles and theories on karma and other far-eastern religious concepts.
I read something about how they didn't take leap year in account when they came up with this whole world ending according to that calendar. >_>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ~King of Dark~ ♮C.0.W♮ My Past has determined your future My torrential pain will be your unspeakable suffering Your days are numbered Don't fear the end Pray for it and unlike your own immortality My thirst for vengeance WILL NEVER DIE
<_< a year as we know it today is just a ratio of full rotations of the earth per full revolution of the earth around the sun...which is where leap year comes from.(ie 365.242 Days Per 1 Year)
the Mayan long count calendar is not a solar calendar. It does not classify time by revolutions of the earth around the sun, but rather only in full rotations of the earth. Therefore, there is no "year" in the long count calender, only days, which are further compounded into larger units by multiples of 20. K'in = 1 Day Uinal(or Winal) = 20 Days Tun = 360 Days Katun = 7,200 Days Baktun = 144,000 Days