Mayan priests began their ceremonies to mark the end of the current era in the Mayan long-count calendar yesterday and it involved incense and rituals...but they were stuck doing it at a park in Mexico City.
It seems their patronizing, European-descended overlords are not taking any chances with rumors of an end to the world and so true-believing Mayas have been barred by authorities from performing rituals at their ancestral temples. The Mayan long-count calendar measures time in Baktuns of 394 years. 13 is considered a sacred number to them and an unlucky number to us and the 13th Baktun ends Dec. 21st - well, we think. Anyway, this Mayan stuff delights doomsday prophets to no end. Dr. John Holdren would likely have a book already out on this particular apocalypse, like he did with the population bomb, a new ice age and mass starvation when those were big deals, but he is busy restoring science to its rightful place as President Obama's Science Czar.
There are about 800,000 people claiming to be descended from Mayas and you can bet they want this Baktun to end so why they are doing rituals 'thanking the Gods' is a mystery. During this Baktun, they got overrun by Europeans who replaced their slave labor culture with forced labor and threw in new diseases as well, and the most popular thing about the whole country is Speedy Gonzales. The current government certainly does not want them back in charge, like they were in 1618 when the old Baktun ended, so places like Chichen Itza, Coban and Tulum are strictly off limits to their mojo. Just in case.
The government is not revealing that real reason, of course, they say it is just a safety issue - and conservation of archaeological sites. 35,000 people visited Chichen Itza during the spring equinox last year so imagine how many would pile on for the End of the World.
And so, Mayas are forced to hold their ceremonies on patios and in fields. Presumably they will have to do without the human sacrifice too. That's cultural intolerance right there.
Yucatan, the state with the largest Mayan population, still wants you to bring some Yankee dollars, even if the temple isn't hosting doomsday. Their "Festival of the Maya Culture" goes on through Dec. 21st and they aren't discouraging doomsday types from showing up, but they are so confident 2013 will arrive they are already planning next year's festival.
So pay your light bill.
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