There is a lot of talk about December 21, 2012 and the supposedly “end of the world” prediction by the Mayan people. It is hard to find the truth in all the hype. What did the Mayans really mean when they stopped their calendar on Dec 21? Is this the end?
No, it is not the end at all, however the Mayan calendar is not easily understood. This lack of understanding has lead to many far-fetched and crazy predictions on the internet. Some people are planning for 3 days of total darkness. Really? Do you think the sun will shut off for 3 days?
According to Rosalind Joyce, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Berkeley and a leading scholar on the ancient culture of Central America, “the Maya never did predict the end of the world,” she said.
The Maya calendar counts long cycles of 144,000 days, called b’ak’tun. The Maya count back epochs over many cycles and then forward for thousands of years.
“The ancient Maya had a concept of long, continuous time on their calendar, but never an ‘end time,’ ” Joyce said. According to their calendar this is now the 13th b’ak’tun cycle, and it does end on Dec. 21, or Mayan date: 188.8.131.52.0. But the cycle will then begin again as the 14th cycle, and there will always be another new b’ak’tun cycle.
So what is supposed to happen during this time of transition from the end of one cycle to the beginning of the next? To get some solid answers, let’s look at the cycles throughout history.
A b’ak’tun is a period of 144,000 days (about 393 years) in the Maya Long Count. Guatemalan writer Gaspar Pedro González says that it is an especially important time unit, “used for describing the creations of humans and of the world”. Some historians have said that there is a direct correlation between major world events and the ending of b’aktun cycles.
The Maya people consider thirteen to be a sacred number so the completion of 13 b’ak’tun cycles makes December 21, 2012 even more important. Add to that the fact that Mayans Long Count’s “zero date” was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one. This means that the fourth world will also have reached the end of its 13th b’ak’tun, on 21 December 2012
There is so much hype on the internet about this time, it is difficult to tell the science from the science fiction. Damien Melis from the Gippsland Mexican Arts Group says the Mayan prophecies don’t predict the end of the world, rather an evolution of the human mind and spirit. This time of transition is supposed to bring about enlightenment and new knowledge about human-kind and the universe. We can only hope that this truly does happen.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you are planning a trip to one of the Mayan Ruins in Mexico during this time, be prepared for crowds of people flocking to Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum. We offer an inexpensive way to see Chichen Itza for on $47 per person.