WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. ? If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping or made your New Year’s resolutions, the good news is, you might not have to bother.
The bad news? According to the Mayan calendar, the world will end when the winter solstice begins Friday at 6:12 a.m. as the sun reaches its southernmost declination (of -23.5 degrees).
The “Long Count” Mayan calendar, which began in 3114 BC, finishes its 5,000-year epoch this year. The Mayans believed on that day the calendar – as well as the world – would come to an end, an event which, thousands of years later, has led to widespread celebration – and a little panic.
Mexico has already experienced a huge influx of tourists taking part in festivities at archaeological sites throughout the country that include fireworks and concerts, according to reports. And celebrations have begun in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. But in France, reports say, authorities temporarily closed access to one of the Pyrenees mountains to avoid hoards of apocalypse-fleeing people. Closer to home, people have experienced their own share of unusual celestial preludes to the alleged event: undetermined lights were reported hovering over Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, according to the Daily News. But is it just “Y2K” redux? For years, NASA scientists have analyzed the possibility of the Earth ending this year, but have concluded that Dec. 21, 2012, will be nothing more than a typical December solstice. In other words, the day will be mercilessly short, but another day will surely follow it.