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2012: The end of the world?

March 25, 2010

By: Ligia María

Translated from Spanish; original version below.

A scene from Columbia Pictures' 2012. The action film will be released November 13, 2009

Versión Original en Español, abajo

México, February 8th, 2010. A group of Mexican anthropologists will investigate in México and Guatemala what Indigenous Mayas think about the apocalyptic interpretation that occidentals have of their calendar that has been shown in the North American film “2012”.

“The way Mayas think, it is all about one cyclic moment that has an end. Mayas never conceptualized this as a catastrophic date,” explains José Huchim, an archeologist and member of the Mayan community.

“It is a worry that the vision that we have as Mayas is taken another meaning”.  Said Huchim, investigator of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of México (INAH), in an interview with AFP.

“Genuinely the Mayas predicted that on this date, a deity associated with the war was going to descend, but does not exist a final count of the time,” explained Guillermo Bernal, investigator of the Center of Mayan Studies of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM).

The experts reject interpretations like the book “The Mayan Testament” of Steve Alten, which has sold 10 millions copies, and originated the North American film,  revealing that Mayas announced  the end of the world on December 21 of 2012.

The investigators will move on March to Yucatán (Southeast of Mexico)   and Guatemala where they will contact the Xamanes (Mayan priests) of the Mayan communities to evaluate how they are preparing for 2012, and what they think about the publicity generated around  the movie.

The biggest concern of the investigators is that those interpretations can be used to support the penetration of religious sects between the indigenous.

“In the recent history have had examples of sects using this kind of apocalyptic interpretations to incite collective suicides,” remembers Bernal.

According with official numbers, the Mayan population in Mexico is almost 1.5 millions, concentrated in the Yucatan Peninsula. In Guatemala the descendants of the Mayas are approximately 13 millions, the 40% of the population.

According with an Estela found in Cobá, an archaeological zone of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo (East) on 2012, conclude the current age of the Mayan calendar that began 2,144 years before our age.

The calendar called “The calendar of the long count” was created for the Mayas in order to register specific dates of their past and future that were engraved on Estelas. This calendar is divided in 13 bactunes or cycles of time of 144,000 days, and on December 2012 conclude the last one. But that does not mean the end of the world, explains Bernal.

“Then starts the bactun 14, the continuous counting of time. For instance, in Palenque (archeological zone of Chiapas, Southeast) exist an Estela with a faraway registered date: the year 4772 of our calendar in which the anniversary of a leader of that Mayan city is mentioned… Said Bernal

The specialist also regret that between all the occidental interpretations about the Estela of Cobá there is none even one that expresses “the true feeling of the Mayas”.

“Unfortunately  ,  the technology helps with the  emerging of those kind of ideas, more than the true  ways Mayas think, so we are selecting a group of Xamanes to know  how the Mayas live this shift of cycle”, said finally Bernal.


2012: ¿Nos espera el fin del mundo?

Spanish version. Versión en Español.


México, Febrero 8 de 2010. Un grupo de antropólogos mexicanos iniciará en marzo una investigación en México y Guatemala para medir efectos entre indígenas mayas de la interpretación apocalíptica que Occidente hizo de su calendario, a partir del filme estadounidense “2012”, y que consideran errónea.

Puede encontrar esta noticia en español en el siguiente link:

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