News Column

Mayan Calendar Sets Friday as Doomsday

Dec 19, 2012

Rick Longley

Ancient Mayans predict the world will end Friday if one is to believe their calendar and prophesy.

Or is it really their idea? Nobody knows for sure.

Yes, Dec. 21 is supposed to mark either the end of the Earth, or a new transition depending on whom you consult.

This date completes a 5,125-year era of the Mayan's Long Count calendar and will bring either dire consequences or a period of tranquility.

The Internet is filled with speculation about an apocalypse and doomsday event.

At the same time, NASA scientists and other experts say nothing will happen.

NASA's website specifically addresses this phenomonon and says there is no scientific evidence to support an apocalypse this year.

It says the story began with claims "that Nibiru, a planet supposedly discovered by the Sumarians, is headed towards Earth," which is a hoax like other Internet planet collisions.

NASA officials said this doomsday prediction came in 2003 and when that did not happen, it was set for Dec. 21, 2012 and linked to the end of one of the Mayan calendars and the winter solstice of 2012.

However, NASA says the Mayan long calendar will end and another will continue just as calendars in use around the world today.

Wikipedia reports New Age theory suggests the date marks a time "when Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation."

It also notes dooms day proponents believe the Nibiru planet will collide with Earth.

Other reports claim Earth will be negatively impacted by a black hole in the center of the gallaxy called Sagitarius A. It is supposed to cause a gravitational issue between this hole and the sun and swallow Earth.

Additional Wikipedia reports say Mayanist experts have not found any end of the world predictions in Mayan literature, and such claims go against Mayan teachings.

"I think this tells us more about ourselves, particularly the Western world, than it does about the ancient Maya. The idea the world will end soon is a very strong belief of Western cultures ... The Maya, we don't really know if they believed the world would ever end," University of California, San Diego antropology professor Geoffrey Braswell told the Associated Press.

AP also got comments from Maya descendent Jose Marique Esquivel, who said his people see the date as a celebration of their survival after centuries of genocide and oppression.

"For us, this Dec. 21 is the end of a great era and also the beginning of a new era," he said. "We renew our beliefs. We renew a host of things that surround us."

Antropologists still debate whether the Mayan Long Calendar will end on Dec. 21 or at a later date, according to Associated Press reports.

The date is mentioned in only two known cases, Braswell said, in an AP story, that includes an etching that says nine gods will descend from heaven to Earth, but the verb desbribing what they will do is illegible in the etching.

"It probably was a ritual of some sort, and even if we had the glyph we wouldn't understand what it is," Braswell said. "What we know for sure is there's no discussion of the end of the world on that date."

In the meantime, the news media has reports of two Chinese men building vessels to escape a world-ending flood.

New Agers also are expected to visit ancient sites across Mexico this week and party in the Bay area and Austraila and Europe as well.

And the AP reports hotels near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are sold out as visitors come to glean the wisdom of the Mayans through circles of energy and dance.

Esquivel added it is a chance to raise awareness of rescuing the planet instead of losing it since people need to focus on climate change and related issues.

Source: (c)2012 Orland Press Register (Willows, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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