Tomorrow is December 21st, 2012. Besides being the winter solstice, pop culture has been fixated on this particular date for what seems like eternity. Popular belief is that tomorrow, a number of possible disaster movie plots could occur, signifying the end of the world.
There was even a disaster movie called 2012 starring John Cusack.
Why do we hold this weird and wacky belief? Thank the Mayans. The Mayan civilization was very advanced for a culture that predates computers and modern science by centuries. Their calendar and study of astronomy are so highly accurate, that they predicted a number of astronomical occurrences, including this year’s solar eclipse and the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. However, their calendar runs out this year… tomorrow to be exact. Since they were so good at predicting, it seems to figure that if they didn’t bother to continue their calendar that something would happen that would make the calendar unnecessary.
Media hype and pop culture hysteria have many people making preparations for the end of the world, much like we did for Y2K and 6/6/2006. While the rest of us are freaking out, there is a group of people who are totally not worried about impending doom: Actual Mayans.
There are still pockets of Mayan descendants living in Central America, including about 800,000 in the Yucatan region of Mexico. To them, December 21st, 2012 is just like every other New Year’s Eve to the rest of us, as in their calendar ends and a new one begins.
The Mayan Calendar has several cycles, one of the largest being a b’ak’tun. A b’ak’tun is a long cycle consisting of 144,000 days. The 13th b’ak’tun is said to end tomorrow, and the 14th will begin.
No biggie. The Mayans will just have to get a new calendar, maybe this time with cuddly kittens on it.
So, no Planet X, no asteroid, no global floods, no zombie apocalypse, no doom, no gloom. Carry on with your Christmas shopping and holiday merriment! Or you can have fun singing along to REM’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.”
I feel fine.