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Mayan calendar doesn’t concern area residents

December 20, 2012
By Anna Patrick - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Like Chicken Little's famous "the sky is falling" cry, a number of theories and rumors have been circulating on the internet and in the media claiming that the world will come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012. Yikes, isn't tomorrow 12-21-12?

Although it is safe to say that the majority of earth's inhabitants believe the world's sudden demise tomorrow is highly unlikely, a number of pleas have been made warning citizens to prepare for the worst. The website provides a significant amount of survival supplies, including gas masks and water treatment tablets for purchase.

Helen Benigni, English professor at Davis & Elkins College, explained that many people are taking the basic mythology behind 12-21-12's significance and blowing it out of proportion.

She said many ancient cultures created repeating calendars, but the Mayan calendar is certainly one of the most famous calendars thanks to its precision and length.

According to Benigni, the Mayan calendar is one of the longest cycles measured, working on an extremely long count of approximately 26,000 years. Tomorrow the Mayan calendar cycle will complete a 13 Baktun cycle. Baktuns are approximately 2,000 years in length.

Benigni explained that the Mayans believed that tomorrow the sun will be in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at 11:13 a.m., creating a galactic alignment. According to NASA's website, a cosmic alignment of the center of the galaxy, the sun and the Earth are a regular occurrence during winter's solstice and can cause no harm.

The only significance of 12-21-12 is the Mayan calendar's will begin a new cycle. To the Mayans, a new age will be created on 12-22-12 as the world continues to move forward based on their Baktun cycle.

Local residents asked about the world-ending scenario Wednesday said they weren't concerned about the infamous date.

Emily Ede, a member of Artists at Work in Elkins, said, "I do not think the world is going to end. I think it's a misunderstanding It's going to be the end of an age, not the end of the world."

While in Elkins visiting her son and grandchildren Wednesday, Miriam Schafler said, "You know, I spent some time in Belize and Guatemala and their civilizations did disappear unexpectedly, but I don't think it has anything to do with an apocalypse."

Marryann Durland, an Elkins business owner, said, "We've got a lot of evolution to go through We have a long way to go."

Benigni explained that not one of the ancient cultures' mythologies predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012.

Not worried at all about what tomorrow will bring, Benigni wished everyone a "Happy galactic New Year!"



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