The Mayan is using the "end of the world" hype to increase tourism in Mexico. While the Western Civilization are fascinated by the end of the world or the Apocalypse, the Mayan believe it is a message of hope and a beginning of a new ear. Since we are absorbed by movies of the end of the world, it is a capitalistic mind set to jump the bandwagon and help improve a globalized market. We have seen the panic in 1999 with the Y2K fiasco. We have seen people predicting the end of the world. There are numerous movies in the past decade glorifying the end of the world. As the media caused public paranoia, it is only logical that the ignorant will believe in such nonsense. Instead, I would be afraid of the government. I would be afraid of Obama. In fact, I would rather embrace the end of the world than to endure another Obama presidency.
(AP) -- Seize the day.
Only 52 weeks and a day are left before Dec. 21, 2012, when some believe the Maya predicted the end of the world.
Unlike enthusiasts of other doomsday theories who suggest putting together survival kits, southeastern Mexico, the heart of Maya territory, plans a yearlong celebration.
Mexico's tourism agency expects to draw 52 million visitors by next year only to the regions of Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Campeche. All of Mexico usually lures about 22 million foreigners in a year.
It's selling the date, the Winter Solstice in the coming year, as a time of renewal. Many archeologists argue that the 2012 reference on a 1,300-year-old stone tablet only marks the end of a cycle in the Mayan calendar.
"The world will not end. It is an era," said Yeanet Zaldo, a tourism spokeswoman for the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo, home to Cancun. "For us, it is a message of hope."
Cities and towns in the Mayan region on Wednesday will start the yearlong countdown. In Chiapas the town of Tapachula on the Guatemalan border will start a countdown on an 8-foot digital clock in the main park exactly a year before the mysterious date.
In the nearby archaeological site of Izapa, Maya priests will burn incense, chant and offer prayers.
The Mayan civilization, which reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D., had a talent for astronomy
Its Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas, and they wrote that the 13th Baktun ends on Dec. 21, 2012.
The doomsday theories stem from a stone tablet discovered in the 1960s at the archaeological site of Tortuguero in the Gulf of Mexico state of Tabasco that describes the return of a Mayan god at the end of a 13th period.
Believers have taken the end-of-the world fears to the Internet with hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs.
"The Maya are viewed by many westerners as exotic folks that were supposed to have had some special, secret knowledge," said Mayan scholar Sven Gronemeyer. "What happens is that our expectations and fears get projected on the Maya calendar."
Gronemeyer of La Trobe University in Australia compares the supposed Mayan prophecies to the "Y2K" hype, when people feared all computer systems would crash when the new millennium began on Jan. 1, 2000.
For some reason, Gronemeyer says, people have ignored evidence that dates beyond 2012 were recorded.
The blogosphere exploded with more speculation when Mexico's archaeology institute acknowledged on Nov. 24 a second reference to Dec. 21, 2012, on a brick found at other ruins.
"Human beings seem to be attracted by apocalyptic ideas and always assume the worst," Gronemeyer said.
It's all a bit frustrating for serious Mayan researchers whose field has made huge strides in recent years.
"This new historical and archaeological knowledge is so much more interesting and mind-blowing than the fantastical claims about Maya prophecies one sees on TV, books or on the Internet," David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an email to The Associated Press. "We're dealing with thousands of newly deciphered texts and trying to weave together a coherent picture of Maya history and culture, which to me is as exciting as it gets."
While the 2012 hype might increase interest in the Maya, "that will probably be offset by the long and difficult effort ahead to correct the ubiquitous lies and misconceptions, even after 2012 has come and gone," he wrote.