With the 2012 Winter Solstice approaching, a pivotal event not just for the Maya but many people around the world, some fearing apocalypse, awaiting a new era or just curious, the Lodge at Chaa Creek has begun counting the days until Belize’s hugeDecember 21 2012 Maya celebrations.
Chaa Creek owner and GM Lucy Fleming said she and her husband Mick and the entire 135 member staff, many of whom are direct descendants of the ancient Maya who developed the Long Count calendar at the heart of the worldwide controversy, have ticked off the first of the 100 day countdown.
“It’s really getting exciting now,” Ms Fleming said, “The sense of anticipation is palatable as we begin preparations for the 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations in earnest. We’ve thrown some pretty big parties before, like our Chaa Creek New Year’s packages, but this one will be amazing,” she added.
For several years world attention has been drawn to the 2012 Winter Solstice after a number of articles, internet posts and films, such as the Hollywood blockbuster 2012 highlighted the fact that the 13th Bak’tun of the Maya Long Count calendar completes its cycle on December 21 2012. The highly accurate ancient calendar, which gives the Maya a creation date of 11 August 3114 BC, has been a source of fascination for many scholars and, unfortunately, Ms Fleming said, for conspiracy and apocalypse buffs.
“Living in Belize, the heartland of the Maya, we’ve learned to have tremendous respect for the Maya civilisation and their many accomplishments. They were some of the ancient world’s greatest mathematician and astronomers, some of the first people to make paper, develop a written language, create massive libraries and carry out intricate heart and brain surgeries.
“To see such a rich culture demeaned in popular media as some spooky witch doctors predicting the end of the world has been laughable, but a bit disturbing. We’ve always worked to set the record straight, and we’re offering our guests the chance to observe the Maya Winter Solstice with all the respect and enthusiasm it deserves,” she said.
Chaa Creek is now offering a 2012 Maya Winter Solstice all-inclusive vacation package that Ms Fleming said will allow people to join the local Maya community in celebrating an event identified by the Maya thousands of years ago as a turning point in human evolution. The Maya cultural adventure package will give guests a unique, genuine introduction into the Maya culture, cosmology, arts, healing and day-to-day life before participating in a candle lit procession to the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen, located within Chaa Creek’s 365 acre private rainforest nature reserve.
Ms Fleming said the event always had a focus on quality over quantity, so numbers are limited. Most packages have been sold out for some time, but a recent release of the last dozen resulted in some openings. “We wanted to be fair, so released them over time, but these are absolutely the last packages available. It’s a great mix of families, scholars, seekers, adventurers and of course Maya descendants of the people who worked so hard to calculate this event so far into the future.
“The next hundred days will be full of interesting facts, wild speculation and outright misinformation. We’ll be doing our best to honour and respect this incredibly rich culture while having some fun. I think it’s what the ancients would have wanted,” Ms Fleming said.