CANCUN--"I don't believe it will be the end of the world. The Mayas likewise say that it will be the end of a cycle, or something like that. So, no, I don't think it will be the end of the world."
Mariana was there to extol the charms of Cancun, celebrated spa of the Mexican Riviera. She wasn't dodging the famous question on the imminence of the end of the world on account of December 21, 2012, it is believed in certain interpretations of the Maya calendar.
"You say "I believe." Aren't you sure?"
Mariana appeared disconcerted for several seconds. "It's true that many things happen since the beginning of the year, she candidly reflected in a high voice. I was in Mexico in March when there was an earthquake. I tell myself after all, maybe it's the end of the world, or "of one" world...No?"
Why not? Everything is sold, even the end of the world. The promise is based on a strongly doubtful interpretation of the Maya calendar, but business and tourism in Cancun leapt to the occasion. Talk about it for good, or talk about it for evil, but talk about it, as they say...
So, tour operators have found a "spiritual" message to transmit: end of the world or not, it's the ideal occasion "to make the point, to reflect on what we want to change in our life, and on the planet," recites Paula Gomez, representative of the tourist association who drew in May a group of journalists to extol the Maya Riviera, end of the world version.
The Yucatan peninsula evidently has all that's necessary to wash and purify the human spirit before the final Judgment. To start lots of of salt water and good temperature.
But it's not only on the sea that one surfs: spas now offer "Maya care," spectacles of grand unfolding and Maya ceremonies, and "Maya gastronomy" is repeated on the tablecloths.
And the Mayas inside there? They haven't disappeared--famines and diseases drove away their venerable cities before the arrival of the Spanish, but the Mayas, their language and their culture are still present in several regions of Mexico. But to find the authentic Maya in the carnival of the end of the world, it is necessary to go back to the sources.
A trip in the ancient cities of Tulum, Chichen Itza and especialy Coba, allows for better understanding of the roots of this advanced civilization which had--like many others of its contemporaries elsewhere--devised its own calendar. A calendar that has previewed, thus far, the end of a cycle of 5300 years in December 2012.
And after the end of the cycle? Herculano Kuyoccan, our May guide in Coba, lifts his eyes to the sky. And it's not to invoke Bolan Ok Te, the deity who is supposed to come at the end of the year. After December 2012? "Another cycle begins again. That's all."
Monday, November 19, 2012
Mayas in Mexico aren't expecting the end of the world on December 21, 2012
My rough translation of an article in French by Judith Lachapelle that appeared in the Montreal newspaper La Presse on July 7, 2012: