Mayans unfazed about the end of the world
But priest Alfonso Ek says lately he’s being asked by curious non-Mayans about something he says has nothing to do with his people or their beliefs: the end of the world.
His response: “The world will not end.”
Thrill seekers, partyers and folks seeking spiritual experiences are pouring into the Yucatan Peninsula for the end of the centuries-long Mayan calendar that some believe predicted the end of the world Friday. The Mayan people here appear to be greeting the event serenely, with a sense of humor and bemusement.
The ancient Mayans, who ruled throughout southern Mexico and Central America until about 900 A.D., used three calendars, one of which was the Long Count Calendar that completes a major cycle on Dec. 21, 2012. Some today have claimed that the date signifies the end of the world, while scholars say it is merely the beginning of another cycle.
The Maya still exist today as a diverse number of indigenous peoples, some of whom still speak the Maya language.
The end of the Mayan calendar put the spotlight on a people known for human sacrifices and celebrated for their past prowess in subjects such as math and astronomy. Today they live largely on the margins of the lands conquered by the Spaniards beginning in the 16th century.
The Mayans across the Yucatan Peninsula were in rebellion throughout the later half of the 1800s, angered at discrimination and being treated as slaves by those of European descent. At the church here, they looked upon the “Speaking Cross” as an oracle in what is known as the War of the Castes. The Mexican army ended the uprising in 1901. [More]