First it was Russia hoarding all it can on supplies in the lead up to the December 21, 2012 Mayan doomsday countdown supposed to happen next week. Now it's the Chinese who are hoarding, this time on all candles they can hold at on fears there will be three consecutive days of darkness after that fateful day.
Chinese media reported that sales of candles and matches have sold out in the counties of Shuangliu and Longchang, located both in Sichuan province. Not only that, peddlers in those two areas further capitalized on the frenzy, selling self-help manuals, indispensable ingredients and even beauty items.
The panic buying resulted from an online speculation started by Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, which claimed that three straight days of darkness will occur starting December 21, still all related to the Mayan doomsday countdown.
If for any consolation, the apocalyptic sales of the candles and matches are still a far cry from the frenzied salt buying by the Chinese in relation to the radiation fears brought by the earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.
Chinese media reported police in the country's Shanghai state have issued a public warning on Weibo.com after handling 25 cases relating to the apocalypse.
"The (Mayan doomsday) end of the world is pure rumour, do not believe it," the warning said.
Many Western scientists, including NASA and other experts on the Mayan culture and traditions, have debunked such end of the world claims. They have repeatedly insisted that German scientists wrongly interpreted the text of the 5,000-year old Mayan calendar. Although the Mayan calendar is indeed ending, it is only a cycle that heralds new beginnings, not the actual end demise of the world and its inhabitants.