The Mayan End of Days- Will the World be destroyed in 2012?

By: The Scribe on Monday, March 21, 2011

There have been many reports in the news about Mayan predictions that the world will end in December of 2012. However, there are likely just as many individuals who are arguing about what this means for the world as there are reports to argue about. A great number of people believe that the world will literally end on the date predicted in the Mayan long count calendar. But the actual prediction says something very different.

The Mayan or Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is a complicated system that calculates How dates are written on the Long Count calendardates based on the number of days that have passed since the world was created. According to the calendar, this equated to August 11th, 3114 BCE according to a variation on the Gregorian calendar that much of the world follows today. This variation is known as the Proleptic Gregorian calendar. The Long Count calendar was one of several that were used to mark the passage of time. They included the Haab’, a 365-day solar calendar, and a 260-day calendar known as the Tzolk’in.

While the other two calendars could be used to identify days that would happen within a 52 year period. If someone needed to identify a date that would fall outside of that 52 year period, they needed a different way to identify it and, in these cases, the Long Count calendar was used instead. The passage of time could be measured in units of 20. A uinal was made up of 20 days. A group of 18 uinals made a tun, which worked out to 360 days. 20 tuns made a unit of time known as a k’atun and 20 k’atuns made a unit of time known as a b’ak’tun. This equaled 144,000 days. On December 20th, 2012, the 13th b’ak’tun since the creation of the world will end.

However, when the Mayans talked about the end of the world, they were not necessarily talking about the destruction of the planet Earth itself. Instead, they believed that there were a progression of different “world ages” and that we are currently living in the fourth world age. It is this that is supposed to be ending in 2012 and that the time will be one of transformation. There has been some argument over whether or not this transformation will be accompanied by the destruction of the planet or some other great apocalypse.

A depiction of one Mayan god which may appear in December, 2012There have been some Mayan texts found that do mention the end of B’ak’tun 13, the day that correlates to December 20th, 2012. In many of the books, it mentions that great and important events will take place, and in at least one it states that at least one god will return to the Earth to visit his children. There have also been written records that mention dates that take place after December, 2012, something which would be totally unlikely if the Mayans thought the world was ending.

Whether the Mayans’ view of a period of transformation and rebirth, or the modern doomsday beliefs that the world will end will come true remains to be seen. All around the world, people watch and wait to see what the future will bring.


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