Demystifying The Mayan Calender

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Doomsday: Will the world end on Dec. 21?

Two COCC Faculty weigh in

Mayan Calendar Graphic
Andrew Greenstone The Broadside
You’ve probably met at least one person who believes the world as we know it will come to an end on Dec. 21. There are over 300 websites dedicated to speculating about cataclysmic events that will supposedly bring civilization to its knees on Dec. 21, 2012. Willan Cervantes thinks they’re all wrong.
Cervantes, Latino Preparation Outreach Coordinator at Central Oregon Community College, believes that there is no reason to assume that there is any truth to the predicted Dec. 21 doomsday scenario.
Molly Svendson
The Broadside
“There won’t be a collapse or a series of humanity ending events that take place just because it is December 21, 2012,” said Cervantes. “What December 31 is on our calendar is what December 21, 2012 is on the Mayan calendar. Just as January 1 is the beginning of our new year, December 22, 2012 is the beginning of a new cycle of the Mayan calendar.”
Cervantes believes that the ‘doomsday’ idea has been brought up because of a misunderstanding of what the Mayan calendar really means.
“The Western belief system has a general paranoia about certain dates,” said Cervantes. “These beliefs often create a superimposed paranoia around other cultures.”
The Mayan culture first combined the solar calendar and the spiritual calendar to create a ‘calendar round’. The calendar round lasted about 52 years. Without a way to measure time past 52 years, the Mayans created the long-count calendar which lasts approximately 5126 years. The first cycle of this long-count calendar began on Aug. 11, 3114 BC, and the end of the approximately 5126 year cycle will fall on Dec. 21, 2012, said Terry Krueger, COCC writing, literature, and mythology professor.
“Think of the long-count calendar as a wheel that is spinning; it is just a continuous circle,” said Krueger. “With the Mayan calendar, every time one cycle ends it is implied that another cycle will follow.”
Krueger believes that there will not be a ‘doomsday’  scenario on Dec. 21, 2012.
“COCC students shouldn’t sell all their stocks and drop out of school just because of the predicted ‘doomsday’ scenario,” said Krueger.

 (Contact: msvendsen@cocc.edu)

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