No sex please, we’re Mayan

Baktún: A new Mexican soap opera that breaks cultural boundaries


Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

Steamy soap operas, known as telenovelas, are small-screen staples in Mexico, serving up scandal, sex and escapism for millions enthralled by the sappy storylines. The telenovela Baktún takes the tawdry form of television to the Mayan languages, but with a twist: no kissing or displays of public affection. “A big issue [for us] has been the absence of kisses,” says director Bruno Cárcamo. “It’s what sells in all of Latin America.”

The move is an attempt at accommodating the cultural sensibilities of the Maya, who still populate traditional pueblos across Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and parts of Central America. The show is also part of a broader effort to keep the culture alive, particularly as many Maya move to bigger cities such as Cancún for tourism jobs.

The Mayan culture has been misrepresented and misunderstood—most recently by the end of the long-count calendar last Dec. 21, erroneously interpreted as the end of the world. But the misinterpretation brought an awareness of the Maya and provided the pretext for the producers to finally find funding for a 21-episode series on public TV in Quintana Roo state.

The Mayan calendar and its concept of renewal also inspired the storyline of the series, shot in an actual Mayan community south of Cancún. The show focuses on Jacinto, who migrates to New York for economic opportunities and loses many of his Mayan customs. He returns to his rural village to find his language skills lacking and his love interest taking a liking to his brother—the closest Cárcamo comes to pushing the envelope. As Jacinto rediscovers his roots, he becomes Mayan again, but in a more modern sense. “What Baktún and the main character present is the introduction of a new Maya, who uses Twitter, Facebook, English—but doesn’t lose his traditions,” Cárcamo says.

Baktún is just one of several recent efforts to make a family of indigenous languages with some 700,000 speakers more relevant. José Manuel Poot Cahun, 27, who plays Jacinto’s brother in Baktún, moonlights as a rocker under the stage name Mayan Prince. Others in his collective of artists—called Sueño Maya, or Mayan Dream—use Mayan languages in comedy, theatre and even hip hop music. “We can motivate people to feel pride in their culture and the Mayan language,” Poot says.

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No sex please, we’re Mayan

  1. the mayan calender end date is 2013-21dec + 3 days for it start…

    for the birth of the new sun….. now its long count so it ends on the longest night…. its also measured by venues start crossing of the earth…. its a venues calender so it counts the rotations… it has to align properly….

    you can go to this site and see…. that venues is just about to cross earth….. set the date to 24dec… set the option point to earth use mouse to zoom in and up and down to see it line up the sun ….


    theirs the earth to sun calendar 144000 days… for the sun to come back to it start it takes 144000 days

    so the venues calender works the same way…. the number of days to it start…. so it has to end with venues crossing start of the earth… 2013-21dec

    see ison is a marker of some type of an orbit body….

    see their more calenders just like the mayan… all over the place…. like i said we trade insight not hog it…


    go look at 2012-21….. their was no crossing on the long cont…. long night… so it cant be…. its the number of days back to it start base on venues like we see in 2013…. yet you have to count the years till it comes back to the same spot.. to create a long count of Venus…..to know this…

    like i said we have like a 100,000 year history…

    • I want you to know that I appreciate the time you took to write this comment. The quality of your comment is diminished by poor structure and a general lack of organization.

      • so what is your point… is it you understand your trash on us or is it you don’t,,,

        if your so right…. yet face your wrongs what is it you understand…

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