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Mexico’s Maya heartland greets dawn of new era

December 21, 2012 • World News


Dancers perform as the sun rises at the Teotihuacan archeological site in Teotihuacan, Mexico, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Many believe today is the conclusion of a vast, 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar. Some have interpreted the prophetic moment as the end of the world, while others as believed it marked the birth of a new and better age. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

MERIDA, Mexico (AP) — Dec. 21 started out as the prophetic day some had believed would usher in the fiery end of the world. By Friday afternoon, it had become more comic than cosmic, the punch line of countless Facebook posts and at least several dozen T-shirts.

At the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, thousands chanted, danced and otherwise frolicked around ceremonial fires and pyramids to mark the conclusion of a vast, 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar.

The doomsayers who had predicted apocalypse were nowhere to be seen. Instead, people showed up in T-shirts reading “The End of the World: I Was There.”

Vendors eager to sell their ceramic handicrafts and wooden masks called out to passing visitors, “Buy something before the world ends.”

And on Twitter, (hash)EndoftheWorld had become one of the day’s most popular hash tags.

For the masses in the ruins, Dec. 21 sparked celebration of what they saw as the birth of a new and better age. It was also inspiration for massive clouds of patchouli and marijuana smoke and a chorus of conch calls at the break of dawn.

The official crowd count stood at 20,000 as of mid-afternoon, with people continuing to arrive. That surpassed the count on an average day but not as many as have gathered at the ruins during equinoxes.

The boisterous gathering Friday included Buddhists, pagan nature worshippers, druids and followers of Aztec and Maya religious traditions. Some Login to read more

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