Kukulkan Pyramid, the iconic pyramid at the ruins of Chichen Itza. — Photo courtesy of Celso Flores
The Mayan Long Count calendar, which runs for a period of 5,126 years, will end on December 21, 2012. There is much speculation about what will happen on that date. The Mayan people were highly intelligent; they had a great understanding of astrology and mathematics, invented the first written language, and came up with the concept of zero, which is why zero is in our numeric system today.
Considering their high level of intelligence, not only for their time, but even by today's standards, many believe that the Mayans foresaw the future and ended the calendar on the day they thought the world would end. Experts in Mayan history are trying to dispel such myths, however. These experts believe that the end of the Long Count calendar will be the end of an era; a time of rebirth, or a "transition point". Other scholars say it will be an age of "wisdom and peace".
To educate the public about Mayan history, as well as the calendar and its meaning, there will be cultural workshops at Chichen Itza, a very famous and significant site of Mayan ruins, roughly three hours from Cancun. Throughout the year, Mayan Shaman and healers will perform sacred Mayan rituals and ceremonies at the Chichen Itza ceremonial site, at the Hacienda Chichen Resort, a hotel on the grounds of Chichen Itza.
At sunrise, on December 21, 2012, the day of the Winter Solstice, there will be an a ceremony at Chichen Itza, to inaugurate the Maya New Age Monument. The monument will commemorate the end-date of the Mayan calendar and will symbolize the joining of the modern world with the ancient Mayan civilization.
Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Chichen Itza for the Spring Equinox and Autumnal Equinox. In 2012, the park expects to have record numbers of visitors throughout the year...not just for the equinoxes.
If you believe the world will end in 12/21/12, it would be wise to visit Chichen Itza while you still have the chance and, even if you believe the world will continue chugging along long after that date, 2012 will still be a very exciting time to visit the ancient city of Chichen Itza.