Countdown to Maya Apocalypse Begins With Yearlong Celebrations

The countdown to the “end of the world” has begun, according to the Mayan calendar, which sets the date of the Apocalypse as Dec. 21, 2012 - exactly 52 weeks and one day away.

What makes it different from other end times predictions is that many disagree about what the meaning of the date really is, and whether it signifies the end of life as we know it, or the start of a new era. There are also those who believe that just like other prophecies, nothing will happen at all.

Reports claim that some are even treating it as a cause for yearlong celebration rather than something to dread. Mexico is banking on drawing 52 million visitors to the regions of Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Campeche alone, which will fuel its tourism industry for the coming year.

Next year’s Winter Solstice will be a time of renewal for some, like Yeanet Zaldo, a tourism spokeswoman for Quintana Roo in the Caribbean, who has called the famous date a “message of hope.” In the region’s tropical rain forests, Maya priests and dancers will perform a ritual at a time capsule where people are putting messages and photos to be unearthed 50 years from now.

Numerous cities and towns in the Mayan region are also joining in the yearlong celebrations – Tapachula, which is near the Guatemalan border, will start a countdown on a large 8-foot digital clock in its main park on Wednesday. The state of Yucatan is building The Maya Museum of Merida, which it hopes will open by next summer.

The Apocalyptic predictions are based on a stone tablet discovered at the archaeological site of Tortuguero, Tabasco in the 1960s. The stone tablet reveals Dec. 21, 2012 as the end of the 13th period on an ancient calendar, which began in 3,114 B.C. The number 13 was sacred for the Mayans, who were said to have impressive knowledge of astronomy, The AP shared. 

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