2012 Mayan Doomsday Countdown: Mayan Descendants, Vatican Belie Dec 21 End-of-the-World Prediction

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 13, 2012 11:30 AM EST

The Dec 21, 2012 doomsday prediction based on the Mayan calendar has split the world with believers on one side and non-believers on the other side. Their course of action as the so-called apocalypse date fast approaches indicates how people view the prediction - either with disdain or belief.

Two groups have joined the majority, the nonbelievers, in debunking the end-of-the-world scenario painted by believers. One group is made of Mayan descendants and the other the Roman Catholic Church.

Anthropologist Carminia Martinez, a University of Houston graduate, currently lives with the Mayans' descendants in the Yucatan Peninsula to document the group's culture.

She explained that the Mayans' long count calendar is just to mark the close of one era and the start of the next. Midnight of Dec 21 would not signal an Armageddon marked by reversal of magnet fields, meteor showers and other catastrophic events, but would be a normal day. Ms Martinez said the sun would rise again on Dec 22.

"Some are very offended at the fact. They said this is another insult to Mayan culture because what is going to happen after December 21st? Everybody's going to say, 'The Mayans were wrong, the Mayans are liars,'" Fox 26 News quoted Ms Martinez.

Meanwhile, Rev Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, wrote in L'Osservatore Romano newspaper that the doomsday scenario is an event not worth discussing,

The astronomer-priest acknowledged that the universe is expanding and based on some models will break away and cause some galactic events, but it would not happen in the next 9 days but likely billions of years away.

Mayans, based on their Long Count Calendar, mark tine in 394-year periods called Baktuns. They started this method in 3,114 B.C. and based on the system would end their 13th Baktun on Dec 21.

Based on that important date, some people believe the end is near and have resorted to drastic measures ranging from hoarding of candles and basic commodities to flocking to Bugarach in France to escape an anticipated apocalypse.

Others, however, take the prediction with a grain of salt and even are organising parties and events on those days.

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