Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mayan prophecy sparks dread, celebration worldwide

Mayan Calendar Global Reaction

This June 24, 2011 photo shows the Bugarach mountain peak in southern France. From Russia to California, thousands are preparing for the fateful day, when many believe a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to an end. The Internet has helped feed the frenzy, spreading rumors that a mountain in the French Pyrenees is hiding an alien spaceship that will be the sole escape from the destruction. French authorities are blocking access to Bugarach peak from Dec. 19-23 except for the village's 200 residents "who want to live in peace," the local prefect said in a news release. (AP Photo)

MEXICO CITY — The clock is ticking down to Dec. 21, the supposed end of the Mayan calendar, and from China to California to Mexico, thousands are getting ready for what they think is going to be a fateful day.

The Maya didn’t say much about what would happen next, after a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count comes to an end. So into that void have rushed occult writers, bloggers and New Age visionaries foreseeing all manner of monumental change, from doomsday to a new age of enlightenment.

The 2009 disaster flick “2012″ helped spark doomsday rumors, with its visions of Los Angeles crashing into the sea and mammoth tsunami waves swallowing the Himalayas. Foreboding TV documentaries and alarmist websites followed, sparking panic in corners of the globe thousands of miles from the Mayan homeland of southern Mexico and Central America.

As the big day approaches, governments and scientists alike are mobilizing to avoid actual tragedy. Even the U.S. space agency NASA intervened earlier this month, posting a nearly hour-long YouTube video debunking apocalyptic points, one by one.

The Internet has helped feed the frenzy, spreading rumors that a mountain in the French Pyrenees is hiding an alien spaceship that will be the sole escape from the destruction. French authorities are blocking access to Bugarach peak from Dec. 19-23 except for the village’s 200 residents “who want to live in peace,” the local prefect said in a news release.

“I think this tells us more about ourselves, particularly in the Western world, than it does about the ancient Maya,” said Geoffrey Braswell, an associate professor of anthropology and leading Maya scholar at the University of California, San Diego. “The idea that the world will end soon is a very strong belief in Western cultures. … The Maya, we don’t really know if they believed the world would ever end.”

As the clock ticks down, scenarios have mounted about how the end will come.

Some believe a rogue planet called Nibiru will emerge from its hiding place behind the sun and smash into the Earth. Others say a super black hole at the center of the universe will suck in our planet and smash it to pieces. At least two men in China are predicting a world-ending flood. They’re both building arks.

Lu Zhenghai has spent his life savings, some $160,000, building the 70-foot-by-50-foot vessel powered by three diesel engines, according to state media.

“I am afraid that when the end of the world comes, the flood will submerge my house,” the 44-year-old ex-army man was quoted as saying.

China’s most innovative ark builder, however, may be Yang Zongfu, a 32-year-old businessman in eastern China.

His vessel, Atlantis, a three-ton yellow steel ball 13 feet (four meters) in diameter, is designed to survive a volcano, tsunami, earthquake or nuclear meltdown, according to the state-run Liao Wang magazine.

Jose Manrique Esquivel, a descendent of the Maya, said his community in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula sees the date as a celebration of their survival despite centuries of genocide and oppression. He blamed profiteers looking to scam the gullible for stoking doomsday fears.

“For us, this Dec. 21 is the end of a great era and also the beginning of a new era. We renew our beliefs. We renew a host of things that surround us,” Esquivel said.

In fact, anthropologists aren’t even sure whether the end of the Mayan calendar falls on Dec. 21, or whether it’s already happened or is still to come, Braswell said. The date is mentioned in only two known cases, including an etching that says nine gods will descend from heaven to Earth. The verb describing what the gods will do is illegible in the etching.

“It probably was a ritual of some sort, and even if we had the glyph we wouldn’t understand what it is,” Braswell said. “What we know for sure is there’s no discussion of the end of the world on that date.”

The mystery isn’t only inspiring dread: Some are whipping out their yoga tights and meditation cushions and joining a global counter-movement promoting the date as the start of a new era of hope.

Thousands of New Age adherents are expected to fill ancient sites across Mexico in the days leading up to Dec. 21, while their spiritual brethren party in hotspots as diverse as Culver City, Calif., and Byron Bay, Australia.

One of the biggest movements is Birth 2012, which is using the Mayan date to launch what it hopes will be a global spiritual reset. Some 40 events around the world will mark the change.

“We’ve activated this campaign for three days of love,” said movement co-founder Stephen Dinan. “Let’s have generosity and kindness be the operative fare, rather than people hunkering down in fear.”

In Mexico’s Mayan heartland, nobody is preparing for the end of the world; instead, they’re bracing for a tsunami of spiritual visitors of the terrestrial variety.

Hotels near the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza have been sold out, with many rooms booked a year in advance. Volunteers at the Kinich Ahau center — dedicated to spreading the “authentic wisdom of the Maya” — were busy chopping resinous wood to mix with incense for a sacred fire ceremony to greet visitors from around the world. Mass tribal drumming, circles of energy and ritual dancing were also planned.

For Esquivel and other modern-day Maya, Dec. 21 is a chance to raise awareness about rescuing the planet, not prepare for its demise. People all over the world need to focus on the very real damage people have done to the Earth, he said, and sound the alarm about growing catastrophes, such as climate change.

“We’re putting in danger the existence of our world,” Esquivel said. “It’s our goal for this date to create consciousness about our Earth. We want to say to everybody that the Maya live and we want to gather our strength to save the Earth.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Bay Area makes growth plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Earth Day means cleanup Day for Suisun City

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hop to it: Couple lights up home, yard for Easter

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

Ranking the best Bay Area athletes

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

The Edge hosts Easter egg hunt

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

 
Alooma Temple keeps children in mind

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
The resurrection has changed the lives of Christians

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Understanding your health insurance

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: D4

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

Highway 12 paving to slow traffic east of Rio Vista

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5

 
Record Store Day a commercial hit

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Easter egg hunt brings out the smiles

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. joins Fairfield coffee corridor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7 | Gallery

City sets plan to dispose of property assets

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
San Francisco probe leading to entrapment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Government … for the government?

By Bill James | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Jeb Bush, love, and today’s GOP

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A9

Statistical frauds distort equal-pay debate

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A9

 
Are government ‘carrots’ fair, worthwhile?

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes for April 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D4

 
Pete spends weekends at my house but he never invites me to his

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D4

.

Entertainment

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

James Leroy Barbour

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
William Paul Wehrly

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Margaret Elizabeth Silva

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Lloyd G. Hoffmeister

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Rogelio Tinoco-Zamudio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics