As Belize’s Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebrations continue at the Lodge at Chaa Creek, authorities in China are attempting to contain panic surrounding the December 21 2012 end-of-the-world prophesies, according to an article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.
Marketing Administrator Larry Waight said that the contrast between the two approaches to the 2012 Winter Solstice show the difference between Maya fact and fallacy.
“Here at Chaa Creek we’re preparing for the Winter solstice with education and a sense of discovery while in other parts of the world people are hoarding food and other supplies in preparation of an apocalypse that the Maya never predicted would happen,” he said.
“It’s funny that here in the actual Heartland of the Maya it’s all about celebration and learning about this fascinating ancient culture and observing the date the way we believe the ancient Maya would have. It’s only in fantasy-land that people are worried about the end of the world,” he said.
“I can you where I’d rather be,” he added.
Mr Waight said that guests and participants in the series of lectures and workshops Chaa Creek is currently sponsoring in the lead-up to the huge December 21 celebrations to held at the Belizean eco resort had been downloading information about some of the overseas responses to the approaching 2012 Winter Solstice.
According the December 19 Sydney Morning Herald article (“China alert to doomsday rumours”), authorities in China have detained more than 90 people across seven provinces for spreading rumours about so-called Maya prophesies linking the 2012 Winter Solstice to the end of the world. According to the reports, theories posted on the internet and in the US film “2012,” which was hugely popular in China, have fueled fears of what is being called the “Maya Apocalypse” resulting in people scrambling to prepare for survival.
The SMH article also said that Chinese authorities blamed the doomsday fears on ”psychologically affecting” the man who slashed 22 school children in the Henen Province earlier this month and for causing panic buying of candles and other supplies.
One farmer in Hebei province has built seven buoyant steel-and-fibreglass ”survival pods” that include oxygen, food and water for 14 people that he is selling for about $46,000. Apocalypse fears have also gripped Russia as well, according to the article.
Such scenes are in stark contrast to the festive air at Chaa Creek, where guests can wander through a representative Maya village to get a firsthand understanding of the culture while learning skills such as tortilla and chocolate making, roof thatching, medicinal plant use and other traditional Maya activities.
Participants are also attending workshops and seminars by some of the world’s leading Mayanists and experts in fields such as archaeology, anthropology, history and culture.
“We’ve always said that the Maya facts are far more interesting than Maya fallacy, and judging by the response from our guests, I think that’s been proven here this week at Chaa Creek,” Mr Waight said.
“By being immersed in real Maya culture and speaking with local Maya people themselves, our guests are getting a more authentic Maya Winter Solstice experience while learning what astute astronomers and scientists these ancient people really were,” Mr Waight said.
Belize’s Maya 2012 Winter Solstice celebration is currently underway at Chaa Creek and will culminate, according to Mr Waight, in a candle lit procession to the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen, located in the Chaa Creek nature reserve on the evening of the winter solstice on December 21, 2012. Mr Waight said the event will be covered by various international media houses and can be seen on the Belize Travel Blog.
“It just goes to show that truth can be much more fascinating – and certainly more fun, than fiction,” Mr Waight said