In 2006, a study revealed that South America’s indigenous Aymara people have a reverse concept of time. What does that mean? Well they don’t believe they get younger over time, it has to do with how they think of the flow of time.
Obviously, we see the past behind us and the future ahead of us. The Aymara people think of it the other way around: the past is ahead and the future behind. This way of mapping time spatially is unique amongst most of the world's cultures.
For clues on how they see time, researchers looked a lot at language. The Aymara language uses “nayra” (eye, front, or sight) to mean “past” and uses “qhipa” (back or behind) to mean “future.”
So the expression “nayra mara,” which would translate to “last year,” actually means “front year.” To put it in context, it’s something we occasionally do in English. At 1:30, you could say you’re half an hour ahead of 2:00. Being ahead, meaning “in front,” suggests we also sometimes put the past in front.
Another clue for how their time mapping is different came with their body language. Whenever a native Aymara speaker would refer to events that had already happened, they would gesture forwards, in front of their body. Whenever they were referring to future events, they would gesture behind their body.
It’s a complex concept, for sure. If you want to read more on it, you can check out the study here