Black Friday and the United Stupids of America (USA)!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day.Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.

Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.

That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big
names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.

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I Wish You All “A Merry Christmas”!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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To All My Readers and Well-Wishers Around the Globe

Top Views by Country for all days ending 2012-12-24 (Summarized)

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“Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis …”

” And peace on Earth to people of good will …”

“I Wish You All a Merry Christmas!”

“Ek wens dat julle almal ‘n Geseënde Kersfees!” (Afrikaans)

“Unë ju uroj gjithë Gëzuar Krishtlindjet!” (Albanian)

“أتمنى لكم جميعا عيد ميلاد سعيد!” (Arabic)

«Ցանկանում եմ ձեզ, որ Սուրբ Ծնունդ»: (Armenian)

“Mən bütün Merry Christmas arzulayıram!” (Azerbaijani)

“Nahi dut Eguberri guztiak ” (Basque)

“Я жадаю вам усім шчаслівага Каляд!” (Belarusian)

“আমি আশা করি সমস্ত একটি শুভ বড়দিন আপনি!” (Bengali)

“Пожелавам на всички Весела Коледа!” (Bulgarian)

“Els desitjo a tots un Bon Nadal!” (Catalan)

“祝大家圣诞快乐!” (Chinese simplified)

“祝大家聖誕快樂!” (Chinese traditional)

“Volio bih da svi Sretan Božić!” (Croatian)

“Já Přeji vám všem veselé Vánoce!” (Czech)

“Jeg ønsker jer alle en glædelig jul!” (Danish)

“Ik wens jullie allemaal een vrolijk kerstfeest!” (Dutch)

“Mi Wish You Ĉiu Merry Christmas!” (Esperanto)

“Soovin teile kõigile Häid jõule!” (Estonian)

“Hinihiling ko mo ng Lahat ng Maligayang Pasko!” (Filipino)

“Toivotan kaikille hyvää joulua!” (Finnish)

«Je vous souhaite à tous un Joyeux Noël!” (French)

“Desexo a todos un Feliz Nadal!” (Galician)

“გისურვებთ შობა!” (Georgian)

“Ich wünsche Ihnen allen ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!” (German)

«Εύχομαι σε όλους Καλά Χριστούγεννα!” (Greek)

“હું તમને શુભેચ્છા એક બધા મેરી ક્રિસમસ!” (Gujarati)

“Mwen swete nou tout yon jwayeu Nwèl!” (Haitian Creole)

“אני מאחל לכולכם חג המולד שמח!” (Hebrew)

“मैं तुम चाहो सभी एक मेरी क्रिसमस!” (Hindi)

“Azt szeretném, ha minden Boldog Karácsonyt!” (Hungarian)

“Ég óska ykkur öllum gleðilegra jóla!” (Icelandic)

“Saya berharap Anda semua Merry Christmas!” (Indonesian)

“Is mian liom tú go léir ar na Nollag Merry!” (Irish)

“Auguro a tutti un Buon Natale!” (Italian)

“私はあなたにすべてのメリークリスマスを望む!” (Japanese)

“ನಾನು ನೀವು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಒಂದು ಮೆರ್ರಿ ಕ್ರಿಸ್ಮಸ್ ವಿಶ್!” (Kannada)

“난 당신에게 모든 메리 크리스마스를 기원!” (Korean)

“ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຢາກທ່ານທັງຫມົດເປັນ Merry ວັນຄຣິດສະມາດ!” (Lao)

“Tibi opto a Verbum Caro!” (Latin)

“Es novēlu jums visu priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!” (Latvian)

“Linkiu visiems linksmų Kalėdų!” (Lithunian)

“Ви посакувам на сите Среќен Божиќ!” (Macedonian)

“Saya Mahu Anda Semua Merry Krismas!” (Malay)

“Nixtieq lilkom ilkoll Milied kuntenti ħienja!” (Maltese)

“Jeg ønsker dere alle en riktig God Jul!” (Norwegian)

“من برای شما آرزوی همه کریسمس مبارک!” (Persian)

“Życzę wszystkim Wesołych Świąt!” (Polish)

“Desejo a todos um Feliz Natal!” (Portugese)

“Vă doresc tuturor un Crăciun Fericit!” (Romanian)

“Я желаю вам всем счастливого Рождества!” (Russian)

“Желим вам све а Мерри Божић! ” (Serbian)

“ඔබට සුභ නත්තලක් වේවා!” (Sinhalese)

“Ja Prajem vám všetkým veselé Vianoce!” (Slovak)

“Želim vam vse vesel Božič!” (Slovenian)

“Les deseo a todos una Feliz Navidad!” (Spanish)

“Napenda wote Krismasi Njema!” (Swahili)

“Jag önskar er alla en God Jul!” (Swedish)

“உங்களுக்கு எனது கிறிஸ்துமஸ் (நத்தார்) நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!” (Tamil / Tamizh)

“నేను మిమ్మల్ని విష్ అ మెర్రి క్రిస్మస్!” (Telugu)

“ผมหวังว่าคุณจะ ร่าเริง a คริสต์มาส!” (Thai)

“Seni bütün bir Mutlu Noeller diliyoruz!” (Turkish)

“Я бажаю вам всім щасливого Різдва!” (Ukrainian)

“میں آپ سب کو میری کرسمس کاش!” (Urdu)

“Tôi Chúc các bạn một Giáng sinh vui vẻ!” (Vietnamese)

“Rwy’n Wish chi i gyd Nadolig Llawen!” (Welsh)

“איך ווינטשן איר אַלע אַ לעבעדיק ניטל!” (Yiddish)

It is no secret what Google can do;

And if I can, YOU too can do!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas

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Yes. It is the first snow for this holiday season here in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA. It started snowing at 1:15 PM on Monday December 24th, and hope it would be a White Christmas for us.

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The full Nativity Story in 10 parts

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Now I Know Why the World Did Not End on December 21, 2012 as Expected


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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At sunrise on Friday, December 21, 2012, an era in the Long Count calendar of the Maya came to an end. Many different groups of people around the world expected the end of days catastrophes, and the dawn of a new, more spiritual era. However, the world did not end on that day as expected.

Now I know why!

Peruvian shamans perform a ritual at a beach to prevent the end of the world, in Lima December 20, 2012

Photo: REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

On December 20, 2012, at a beach in Lima, Peruvian shamans performed a ritual to prevent the end of the world. The shamans performed several rituals to ward off the forces that would bring about the end of the world.

Should not we thank these Peruvian Shamans for keeping us all alive today?

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December 21, 2012: YIPEE! THE WORLD IS STILL WHOLE!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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It’s December 21, 2012: THE WORLD HAS NOT ENDED!

If you can read this, it means the Good Times have begun!

Mayan King Fisherr - They said it before

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According to this calendar, the Good Times still continue!

Mayan King Fisherr

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So, there can be only one agenda in a Friday meeting!

Get the party started

I have borrowed the above images from the Facebook page of
Kingfisher – The King of Good Times!

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December 21, 2012: Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere or Is It Doomsday 2012?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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solstices

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The astronomical event known as the solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion point relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. This event occurs twice a year.

On the day of the solstice, at local solar noon, the Sun appears to have reached its highest or lowest annual altitude in the sky above the horizon.

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UT date and time of equinoxes and solstices on the earth

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For any place other than the tropics the solstice day in summer is the longest day of the year, and the solstice day in winter is the shortest day of the year.

During the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the Southern solstice that occurs on December 21st to 22nd, the Sun at noon would appear at its lowest altitude above the horizon, namely, at its southernmost point in the sky. On the other hand, in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice also known as the Northern solstice occurs on June 20th to 21st each year.  On this day, the Sun appears at its northernmost point in the sky.

The axis of rotation of the earth directed towards the same point in the heavens is the result of its axial tilt and the gyroscopic influences of its daily rotation. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, the polar hemisphere facing the Sun encountering summer would after six months face away from the Sun to  endure the winter.

The solstices last only a moment in time. This year, winter solstice would occur today, December 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM UTC (6:12 AM EST; 4:42 PM IST).

Worldwide, interpretation of the winter solstice varies from culture to culture. However, all recognize the rebirth of the Earth that involves religious festivals, rituals, and other celebrations. The following lists a few observance believed to be directly linked to the winter solstice.

mayan-calendar-300x291

This brings us to the Doomsday Prophecy attributed by some to the Mayan Calendar. Though the Mayans never predicted that the world would end today, December 21, 2012, some doomsday soothsayers have been touting all these days that around 80 percent of the world population would be wiped out on this fateful day. Many who believe these scare mongers have left their homes; they have traveled to places where they think their chances of survival will be better.

Ten hours ago, I read an article titled “Global doomsday hot spots draw believers, revelers” by Vanessa Gera where she describes some of the world’s key doomsday destinations and other places marked by fear and fascination.

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December 21, 2012: Hello World, Did the Mayan Prophecy Happen?


mayan-calendar-300x291

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It is 30 minutes past noon December 20, 2012, here in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA.

In some parts of the world December 21, 2012 supposed to be THE fateful Doomsday has dawned.

A new day will begin in India in about 60 minutes from now.

Hello friends in India, are you still there? Yes?

What happened to the much peddled Mayan Prophecy?

By the way, today is a unique day: 20122012.

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Las Posadas – A Novenario of the Latinos


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Chimayo Las Posadas (Photo - Mark Nohl)

The festival of Las Posadas celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the Southwestern United States has its origins in Spain. Observing Las Posadas has been a tradition in Mexico for 400 years.

The Spanish phrase “Las Posadas” means “The Inns”, “accommodations”, or “lodgings”.

This traditional nine-day festival re-enacts the cold and difficult journey of María and José from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for a room at the lodgings in Bethlehem.

Even though the roots of this celebration are in Catholicism even Protestant Latinos follow the tradition.

The festivities of Las Posadas start in full swing on December 16th and ends on December 24th. These nine days are, in fact, a novenario – nine days of religious observance signifying the nine-month pregnancy of María carrying Jesús in her womb.

A red Poinsettia (Photo - André Karwath)

A red Poinsettia (Photo – André Karwath)

Devotees enact Las Posadas by carrying a doll or a statue representing the Christ Child and images of José and María riding a burro. The doll is left at the chosen home and picked up on the next night when the processional begins again. This continues for eight nights.

In certain areas, individuals play the part of María and José, with the expectant mother riding a real burro with attendant angels and shepherds; or the devotees would carry images of the holy family and the saints; followed by musicians, with the entire procession singing Posadas. Children may carry poinsettia flowers.

Holding candle lanterns the procession ambles through the streets of the community, stopping at previously selected residences, singing a Posada such as Para Posada (Asking for a place to stay). At each residence, the innkeeper responds to José’s query by singing a song.

Spanish

English

Afuera:
En nombre del cielo
Os pido posada
Pues no puede andar
Mi esposa amada
Outside – Joseph asks:
In the name of heaven
I request you grant us shelter
Given that she cannot walk
She is my beloved wife
Adentro:
Aquí no es mesón
Sigan adelante
Yo no puedo abrir
No sea algún tunante
 Inside – “Probable” host answers:
This is not an Inn
Please continue ahead
I cannot open
You may be a robber
Afuera:
No seas inhumano
Tennos caridad
Que el Rey de los cielos
Te lo premiará
Outside – Joseph replies:
Do not be inhuman
have mercy on us
Since the King of heavens
will reward you for that
Adentro:
Ya se pueden ir
Y no molestar
porque si me enfado
Os voy a apalear
Inside – Still “probable” host answers:
You can already go away
and do not bother
because if I get upset
I will beat you up
Afuera:
Venimos rendidos
Desde Nazaret
Yo soy carpintero
De nombre José
Outside – Joseph insists:
We come exhausted
From Nazareth
I am a carpenter
named Joseph
Adentro:
No me importa el nombre
Déjenme dormir
Porque ya les digo
Que no hemos de abrir
Inside – Still unconvinced host replies:
I don’t care about your name
Let me go to sleep
Because, as I said
We shall not open
Afuera:
Posada te pide
Amado casero
Por sólo una noche
La reina del cielo
Outside – Joseph expects reasoning:
She asks you shelter
Dear innkeeper
for just one night
She, the queen of heaven
Adentro:
Pues si es una reina
Quien lo solicita
¿Cómo es que de noche
Anda tan solita?
Inside – Almost convinced host asks:
So, if it’s a queen
who’s asking for it,
how is it that at night
she travels so alone?
Afuera:
Mi esposa es María
Es reina del cielo
Y madre va a ser
Del divino verbo
Outside – Joseph answers:
My wife is Mary
She’s the Heavenly Queen
And she’ll be mother
Of the divine word
Adentro:
¿Eres tú José?
¿Tu esposa es María?
Entren peregrinos
No los conocía
Inside – Convinced host finally offers shelter:
Are you Joseph?
Is your wife Mary?
Come in, pilgrims
I did not know you
Afuera:
Dios pague, señores
Vuestra caridad
Y que os colme el cielo
De felicidad
Outside – Joseph gratefully says:
May God reward, sirs
for your charity
And may heaven heap you
With happiness
Adentro:
Dichosa la casa
Que alberga este día
A la virgen pura
La hermosa María
Inside – Host replies:
Joyful be the house
That this day hosts
The pure virgin
The beautiful Mary

The innkeeper after recognizing María and José allow them and the group of guests to enter their home.

All sing together:

Spanish

English

¡Entren santos peregrinos!
¡Reciban éste rincón!
Que aunque es pobre la morada
¡Se las doy de corazón!
¡Cantemos con alegría!
¡Todos al considerar!
¡Que Jesús, José y María
nos vinieron hoy a honrar!
Come in, holy pilgrims!
Receive this corner!
Because, even though the place is poor
I offer it to you from my heart!
Let’s sing with joy!
Everyone at the thought!
That Jesus, Joseph and Mary
Came today to honor us!

Once inside, all kneel around the Nativity crib to pray the Rosary. The hosts provide refreshments.

The final location of the sojourn, most likely, would be a church where the devotees would sing villancicos at the end of each night’s journey.

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Day Before Yesterday NASA Released Video: “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday”


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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NASA is so sure the world won’t come to an end on December 21, 2012, that they already released day before yesterday a “Didn’t We Say So!” video titled “ScienceCasts: Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” on December 11th, itself.

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3MIN News December 12, 2012: Geminid Meteor Showers


by Suspicious0bservers

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Click on the image to see the video.

.3MIN News December 12, 2012 - Geminid Meteor Showers

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Doomsday hysteria grips Russia


Survival kits and trips to hell, doomsday hysteria grips Russia …

Source:  RT – 01 December, 2012

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

Doomsday hysteria has gripped Russia and some of its neighbors. Travel agencies are selling tours to either heaven or hell and people are stocking up on food and fuel. Officials are publicly denying the apocalypse, hoping to calm the hype.

Those awaiting Doomsday have three weeks to finish their preparations before the date of the much publicized apocalypse allegedly predicted by Mayan calendar, that is going to happen on December 21, 2012.

Thousands of people across Russia keep stocking up their back rooms and balconies with food, fuel and other supplies they might need when disaster strikes. Some are even moving outside of cities because of the widely spread rumors that cities would be impossible to survive in after an apocalypse on Earth.

According to one of the most popular scenarios, on December 21 the sun is going to line up with the center of our Milky Way galaxy which will cause an entire blackout on Earth and a wave of different natural disasters.

Doomsday merchandize offered in Russia and Ukraine include survival kits. In the Siberian city of Tomsk such itemsfor “meeting the end of the world” include ID cards, notepads, canned fish, a bottle of vodka, rope, a piece of soap, among other items. The packages are said to be popular among customers, more than 1,000 kits have been already sold, the company says.

Ukrainian entrepreneurs also offer a version of a doomsday kit. Just like Tomsk package, the Ukrainian one also includes alcohol: champagne for ladies and vodka for gentlemen. The rest of the kit consist of jack-knife, two-minute noodles, shampoo, soap, rope, matches and condoms.

Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)
Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)

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Not all doom and gloom

An apocalypse kit is not the only way for the entrepreneurial minded to cash in on the end of the world hype.

One Ukrainian enterprise is selling tours to heaven and hell for December 21 promising full return of money in case of “not getting to heaven or hell.” A trip to heaven would cost about $15, while trip to the underworld is more expensive at around $18. The agency explains difference in price by saying that Hell should be more fun.

While Ukrainian trips are even said by the firm behind to be just for fun, some individuals in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod offered far more expensive doomsday fair – one being a salvation trip in an arc. An internet ad offered seats in the arc for just 80,000-150,000 rubles, which is approximately $2,600-5,000.

Bars and nightclubs are getting ready for apocalypse day in their own way announcing theme parties and inventing special cocktails like “Total Recall” – an extremely alcoholic drink that makes you “recall your entire life.”

But doomsday hysteria isn’t isolated to just the former soviet Republic. In France authorities had to ban access to a mountain that doomsday theorists believe will be the only safe spot during the apocalypse on December 21.

At the birthplace of Mayan calendar, Mexico and Guatemala agencies offer tours “The end of the world with Maya” and “The world of Maya 2012.”

Pictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from pokupon.uaPictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from pokupon.ua

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Russian officials cancel apocalypse

Meanwhile, in Russia rapidly growing doomsday hype has sparked a negative reaction from authorities.

Russia`s Emergency Ministry is not expecting any global cataclysms in the near future, the head of EMERCOM Vladimir Puchkov said on Friday, adding that those worried are free to call the Ministry hotline to talk about their concerns.

Another senior official took a more emotional stance about doomsday speculations. Russia`s Chief Medical Officer of Health Gennady Onishenko lashed out at those publicizing the apocalypse warning that they would end up in court.

“This directly influences people`s health. When they depress you and say that in less than one month everything is going to end, there are many people, who believe this,” he said.

Russian State Duma deputies wrote an open letter urging media to stop speculating about the doomsday. The deputy head of the Duma committee on Science and Technology publicly promised that no apocalypse is happening on December 21.

“In our committee there are academics and scientists, and with all responsibility we state that there will be no doomsday. Who made that up and circulates this around?” he asked.

Mayan legacy

The speculations about December 21, 2012, doomsday are prompted by the Mayan calendar ending on this very day.

The Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 AD to 900 AD was based in modern day Mexico and Central America. Mayans were good astronomers and created very precise calendars.

Their Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 BC, measuring time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The thirteenth Baktun ends around Dec 21, 2012, which first produced rumors about the end of the world.

Despite numerous scientists and Mayan descendants denying the connection between the end of the calendar and the end of the world the rumors quickly got out of control causing public hysteria.

It is not known why this particular end of the world theory became so popular. Over two dozen doomsday predictions have failed to materialize since the beginning of the 20th century.

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