Apparently, Doomsday is upon us.
For some time, grim prophesiers have pointed to Dec. 21, 2012, as the date of the apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar. Already spread by some Western scholars, the rumors have only increased in number (aided by the Internet) since the last end-of-the-world scare fizzled out on January 1, 2000.
The particular date – Friday, for those without a calendar present – comes from the Maya belief that the gods created three previous worlds before placing humanity on a fourth. The previous three were believed to have lasted for only 13 baktun (a baktun is a period of 144,000 days) cycles, totaling roughly 5,125 years. According to the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, the end of this world’s 13th baktun is Friday, leading some to extrapolate that the termination of this cycle will bring the end of days.
That’s not how indigenous Mayans see it. Across Central and South America, indigenous experts and descendants of the Maya are brushing off the doomsday theory. Instead, they say the end of the current baktun marks the beginning of a new Mayan calendar era – much like we restart the year at the end of December. Still, that hasn’t stopped those in other parts of the world from preparing for potential doom.