2012 is a famous year, known for the Mayan ‘Doomsday’ prophecy.
The ancient nation was highly educated, and influenced greatly by astronomy. The Mayan calendar starts in 3114 BC, and marks its time in “B’ak’tun”s- periods that last around 394 years. The 13th B’ak’tun, a number sacred to the nation, ends on December 21st, 2012. Some hold that the dreaded date will bear disaster, while others believe it marks the end of an era. Though the first opinion is more popular, archaeologists tend to think the 2012 reference, which is marked on a stone tablet over 1,300 years old, merely marks the end of a cycle, and not the end of the world.
Not surprisingly, tourism in Mayan regions is booming. Curiosity involving the Mayan prophecy and culture in general has brought flocks of visitors to the nation’s ancient cities throughout Southeast Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The Mexican government plans to attract over 52 million tourists to these states alone throughout the upcoming year.
“The world will not end. It is an era,” said Yeanet Zaldo, a spokeswoman for Quintana Roo in the Caribbean. “For us, it is a message of hope.”
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Modern Mayan civilizations are preparing for the date in different ways. Tapachula, a city on the Guatemalan border, is installing an 8-feet-tall digital clock to count down the hours until December 21t, while other nearby sites will burn incense and offer prayers before the great event.
The Mayan villages will performs these rites, allowing visitors to “go back in time and try to understand the Mayan wisdom,” Zaldo explained.
Hundreds of Mayan-themed events will be held throughout southern Mexico as well, showcasing the ancient civilization and its culture through workshops, shows, music and dance festivals.