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Bricker (1982) estimates that the Haab' was first used around 550 BCE with a starting point of the winter solstice.
The Haab' month names are known today by their corresponding names in colonial-era Yukatek Maya, as transcribed by 16th-century sources (in particular, Diego de Landa and books such as the Chilam Balam of Chumayel).
By the Maya mythological tradition, as documented in Colonial Yucatec accounts and reconstructed from Late Classic and Postclassic inscriptions, the deity Itzamna is frequently credited with bringing the knowledge of the calendar system to the ancestral Maya, along with writing in general and other foundational aspects of Maya culture.
The Tzolkin was combined with a 365-day vague solar year known as the Haab' to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haab', called the Calendar Round.
With all twenty named days used, these now began to repeat the cycle while the number sequence continues, so the next day after 7 Ajaw is 8 Imix'.
The repetition of these interlocking 13- and 20-day cycles therefore takes 260 days to complete (that is, for every possible combination of number/named day to occur once).
For example, people avoided leaving their houses and washing or combing their hair.
Repeating sets of 9 days (see below "Nine lords of the night") The tzolk'in (in modern Maya orthography; also commonly written tzolkin) is the name commonly employed by Mayanist researchers for the Maya Sacred Round or 260-day calendar.
The word tzolk'in is a neologism coined in Yucatec Maya, to mean "count of days" (Coe 1992).
According to the correlation between the Long Count and Western calendars accepted by the great majority of Maya researchers (known as the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, or GMT, correlation), this starting-point is equivalent to August 11, 3114 BCE in the proleptic Gregorian calendar or September 6, in the Julian calendar (−3113 astronomical).
The GMT correlation was chosen by John Eric Sydney Thompson in 1935 on the basis of earlier correlations by Joseph Goodman in 1905 (August 11), Juan Martínez Hernández in 1926 (August 12) and Thompson himself in 1927 (August 13).