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Who's Afraid Of A December Apocalypse?

from K-House

December 21, 2012 on the Mayan calendar has been anticipated as the day Armageddon begins, and doomsayers are preparing for the worse. People around the world are stocking up on candles, kerosene, dry foods, and batteries, reminiscent of the days of Y2K when apocalyptic forecasters predicted all the computer clocks would reset back to the first century plunging the world into financial chaos. New Year's Day 2000 came and went, and nothing happened. Now, now the doomsayers fear the 21st will bring ultimate destruction, and the world will never see another Christmas.

NASA has so much confidence that the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse will be a non-event, the agency has already released a video, ten days ahead of time, explaining, "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday." There is no wayward planet Nibiru ready to crash into Earth, NASA says. There are no known comets or meteors ready to destroy our planet, and while the sun is near its 11-year activity peak, "this is the wimpiest solar cycle of the last 50 years," according to Lika Guhathakurta, head of NASA's Living with a Star program.

Still, the recent spate of natural and other disasters across the world, from the Japan Tsunami to Hurricane Sandy, have encouraged a sense of doom about the future, and the end of the Mayan Calendar offers a collection point for fear.

Who Started It?
The Maya, written by Michael D. Coe in 1966, describes his fascination with the Mayan calendar. In the book, he predicted the end of the world would take place on December 2012, on the final day of the Mayan's 13th bak'tun or cycle, annihilating our present universe. This led other scholars and researchers to write their books and articles based on Coe's theory.

According to Mayan theology, the world came into being 5,125 years before present. The Mayan calendar was created more than 5,000 years ago and is based on several cycles, each counting different lengths of the year. The calendar used to predict the apocalypse is called the "Long Count" calendar. The ancient Mesoamerican culture developed a calendar system based on 260, 360, and 365 days in a year. The 260-day calendar was called the Tzolk'in, and the 365 day calendar was called the Haab'.

The Tzolk'in "count of days" calendar uses a cycle of 20 named days combined with 13 numbered days. Each named day is numbered up to 13 for 260 unique days in the year.

The Haab' is a solar calendar made up of 18 months; each month contains 20 days with an extra 5 days added at the end of the year. The last five days were thought by the ancient Mayans to be the most dangerous times of the year - the Wayeb or "nameless" days. The ancient peoples practiced certain customs and rituals to ward off evil spirits that tried to pass through the barrier between the spiritual and physical. It is estimated that the Mayans developed the Haab' about 550 BC during the winter solstice.

Every 52 Haab' years - 18,980 days - is considered a calendar round. Scholars have calculated back and traced the Mayan calendar day of creation to be August 11, 3114 BC on the Gregorian calendar.

The Long Count calendar uses the Mayan day of creation as a starting point. It counts its first 360 days of the year using a modified base-20 decimal scheme, instead of the Western base-10 scheme. This Long Count calendar used a 5 digit count system and was well suited for inscribing dates on Mayan monuments. On December 21st the Long Count calendar will reset to, ending the 13th bak'tun and preparing for the 14th bak'tun. While the most recent cycle is ending, there are 20 cycles on the Mayan Long Calendar. The day the Long Calendar will reset to will be October 13, 4772. So for the ancient Mayans, the upcoming cycle may have been a day of huge celebrations marking the end of a cycle, equivalent to a millennial New Year's party.

Even NASA cannot tell the future, but it is most likely the world will still be spinning safely through space come December 22, and Christmas will come again. If it doesn't though, who will be here to tell NASA's scientists they were wrong?
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