Bride Luz del Carmen Mas (R) and groom Jesus Soberania get married in a Maya ceremony in Merida December 17, 2012. December 21 marks the end of an age in a 5,125 year-old Maya calendar, an event that is variously interpreted as the end of days, but most Mayans don't believe that the end of the world is coming. (Photo : Reuters)
The end of the world is speculated to be looming closer, and yet the culture that prophesized the Dec. 21 doomsday for mankind doesn't appear all that worried.
Flocks of so-called "New Agers" are traveling to Mexico, where the Mayan civilization once blossomed, in hopes of being there when the Dec. 21 "End of the World" foretold by the Mayan calendar - marking the end of the 400-year calendar left by the civilization known as Baktun 13 - is supposed to come to pass on Friday.
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Still, modern day people descending from Mayans have a different outlook on what could happen Friday, and most don't believe that that end is nigh.
"It's a psychosis, a fad," psychologist Vera Rodriguez, 29, a Mexican of Maya descent living in Izamal, Yucatan state told British tabloid The Telegraph. "I think it's bad for our society and our culture."
"It's a date for doing business, but for me it's just like any other day," drinks vendor Julian Nohuicab, 34, an ethnic Maya working in Coba in Quintana Roo state, told the U.K. newspaper.
Cirilo Perez Oxla, 86, the "chief grandfather" of Guatemala's Council of Mayan Elders and a resident of Totonicapan, in the Guatemalan highlands, also doesn't have much faith that the apocalypse predicted long ago by the Mayan calendar will come to pass.
"The western world has distanced itself from us, it has marginalized and excluded the Mayan people," Perez Oxla told ABC News Univision. "Now that the end of the 13th Baktun is coming, people have their hairs on edge, but this is nothing new for us Mayas, because we are the ones who keep track of time."
"What is destroying us is pollution, not the 13th Baktun," he added. "For us, this is a time of reflection in which to call for unity, in which to love each other, and in which to understand that we must change how we behave with mother earth."
Jaime Magaña Caamal,33, a native speaker of Yucatec Maya, also believes that Dec. 21 has more spiritual meaning for Mayans.
"I personally think that [December 21] is an important day," Magaña said. "It represents the beginning of good things. Mayan culture is cyclical, everything begins again at some stage, and people expect things to get better."
In fact, there is sentiment among new Mayans that the Dec. 21 date will hopefully begin a new cycle that could bring better times.
Santos Esteban, who works as a wood carver in Yaxuna, welcomed the change. "It's an era. We are lucky to see how it ends," he told CNN.
"Lots of people say it's the end of the world, but we don't believe that," he added.