Happy New Year 2012
December 28, 2011 by staff
Happy New Year 2012, We are all looking forward to a new year but many are fearful of the coming of 2012. Some believe that the upcoming year is marking the end of an historic period. Many think that this year will be a spiritually changing one and far too many believe it will mark the end of the world. This idea has been boosted in popular culture through movies, books and websites detailing how and why this year will mark the end.
The apocalypse was a recurring topic of excitement when I was a growing up in a remote Native community on the James Bay coast. It seemed like whenever a significant date or the announcements of a mystic or religious leader was heard, everyone talked about an end date. When news spread of the end, everyone lived at a more frenzied pace and more people attended the local church. Those end time believer’s plans were tossed to the wind. What was the use of thinking about the future if the end was coming? There was a general sense of fear and apprehension for the future. I have lived through countless apocalypses at this point. I grew so tired of them by the time I was a teenager that I started wishing for an apocalypse for the apocalypse.
When it comes to the upcoming year 2012, most people cite the Mayan long count calendar, a number of years calculated to be a 5,125 year period, according to the Mayan system. This time period actually ends on December 21, 2012 in our modern calendar and it is this date that is falsely explained as the moment when our world will end.
When Europeans first read about Mayan culture and writing, they did so with a Euro perspective. One of the strongest of European ideas were based on Christianity and the image of an end of the world and a catastrophic apocalypse. It was with this frame of mind that a German scholar named Ernst Forstemann, in the early 1900s interpreted some Mayan writing to describe a catastrophic flood and a ‘destruction of the world’. This scholar made no reference to the Mayan long count calendar, December 21, 2012 or even if the events he described took place in the past or would happen in the future. Succeeding researchers in Mayan culture made reference to his ideas and later attributed the events to the end of the Mayan long count calendar. This was an untruth.
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