Why is the world going to end in 2012

Ancient Mayan prophecies from more than 2000 years ago, and rather worryingly, many contemporary scientists and respected scholars, stand firm to the belief that on 21st December, 2012, the world as we know it, will come to an end. This idea was initially formulated from a calendar used by several Colombian cultures, known as the ‘Mesoamerican Long Count calendar’. In addition, various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae are said to make reference to this date.

In order to fully understand why this particular date has many people panicking much like the global scare at the turn of the millennium we must first look at the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which is said to reach the end of its current cycle on either the 21st or 23rd December 2012. Setting its zero date in 3114BC this calendar uses a non-repeating formula which involves counting the number of days that have passed since a mythical creation date, corresponding to August 11th, 3114BC. The calendar follows a vigesimal (base of 20) count structure, which makes it inherently different to the lunar calendar but by no means less significant, considering that The Long Count calendar is still used in some parts of Central America today.

The ancient Mayan make reference to 21st December 2012, or as it is otherwise known the end of the thirteenth b’ak’tun, however many have argued that the inscriptions are purely historical rather than prophetic. One Mayanist scholar, Mark Van Stone, has suggested however that the ancient inscriptions suggest darkness on this day with something descending from the sky.

What is also thought to be significant about this date is that the end of the Long Count calendar falls in sync with the Winter Solstice of that year, which as a result of lunar alignments falls as the shortest day. Though this might be put down to purely coincidental considering that the Long Count calendar is thought to have not been concerned with solstices or equinoxes it is thought to be by many extremely significant, considering that the original basis for the calendar was to represent significant dates related to mythical creation. It would therefore only be fitting that something significant were to happen at the end of the Long Count calendar, however existing Mayanists are divided on whether this will simply be a day for celebrations, or something much more significant.

Recent media coverage has further stimulated this debate and widened the perception about whether this date will prove significant or otherwise. Particular concern is that whilst something as extravagant as the world coming to an end might not occur, the date may trigger significant events in the same way that the 9/11 attacks represented a significant placement in time. Some believe however that much hype is being made of this, and that a scare factor is being produced by people discussing this and providing further speculation, using sources such as the internet, and taking seriously media adaptations concerned with the matter, such as the recent film “2012”.