Mexico bans Maya ceremony at ancestral temples

New Age tourists will be flocking to Mexico’s Yucatan Penninsula this week for the “end of the Maya calendar” (sic). But Yucatecan Maya elder JosĂ© Manrique Esquivel protests that he and his followers will be barred from performing ceremonies at the peninsula’s ancient Maya sites. “We would like to do these ceremonies in the archaeological sites, but unfortunately they won’t let us enter,” Esquivel told the AP. “It makes us angry, but that’s the way it is… We perform our rituals in patios, in fields, in vacant lots, wherever we can.” Francisco de Anda, press director for the government’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), offers two reasons for the ban: “In part it is for visitor safety, and also for preservation of the sites, especially on dates when there are massive numbers of visitors… Many of the groups that want to hold ceremonies bring braziers and want to burn incense, and that simply isn’t allowed.”

Comments Intercontinental Cry:

Of course that’s just the excuse. The government would much rather keep the Maya on the sidelines since they are orchestrating a massive commercial spectacle for tens of thousands of people, many of whom are are clinging to delusional hopes and irrational fears about what’s going to happen at the end of 13 Baktun–December 21, 2012.

However, the Maya are still going to be allowed to visit the sites along with the tourists, but they will likely have to pay to get in, just like everyone else.

Meanwhile, as the Maya proceed with their ceremonies, shops in a Siberian city continue to sell Apocalypse kits; Beijing residents are stocking up on crackers, bottled water, and life preservers; in southwest France, the town of Bugarch prepares for a possible deluge of visitors who believe that a mountain could save them from the end of the world; and all the big corporate media services happily continue to spread the mania–all of which stems from little more than basic ignorance toward Indigenous perceptions and realities.
 

Meanwhile, as the Maya proceed with their ceremonies, shops in a Siberian city continue to sell Apocalypse kits; Beijing residents are stocking up on crackers, bottled water, and life preservers; in southwest France, the town of Bugarch prepares for a possible deluge of visitors who believe that a mountain could save them from the end of the world; and all the big corporate media services happily continue to spread the mania–all of which stems from little more than basic ignorance toward Indigenous perceptions and realities.

A report on Venezuela’s El Tiempo notes that on Dec. 20, the day before the turning of the Maya calendar on the solstice, Esquivel will lead a ceremony—dubbed the Interactive Maya Cultural Exposition—in Bosque de Chapultepec, the principal park in Mexico City.

A commercial (up to $499 a pop, “plus airfare”) festival dubbed Synthesis 2012 is billed as being held “in Chichen Itza,” but the website doesn’t make clear if it will actually be at the archeological site. Top-featured draw is “Maya Elder” Hunbatz Men, who helped start the 2012 hoopla with the “Harmonic Convergence” of 1987. We use quotation marks only because skeptics question his bona fides, and even his laudatory Wikipedia page betrays his ersatz embrace of New Age canards like the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria.

Even mainstream sources are cluelessly parroting the malarky about how the Maya calendar is about to “end.” AP writes, “The Maya didn’t say much about what would happen next, after a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count comes to an end.” No such cycle is ending now. A cycle called a baktun, of 400 Maya years or 394 common calendar years, is ending. It is the 13th baktun (hence 5,125, tho that number isn’t eactly right in either Maya or common years), but there is no special significance to the 13th baktun. The baktuns keep going for many thousands of years according to the Maya Long Count.

We await reports from Yucatan on whether authentic Maya voices are heard amid this spectacle.


 

  1. Actual Maya speak on “end of the world”
    Guatemala, of course, is also getting in on the apocalypse exploitation act, with a “World Summit for Humanity” gala planned for the ancient Maya site of Tikal on the 21st, featuring U2, Elton John, Janet Jackson, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. (NZ Herald, Sept. 2; AFP, Aug. 21) But AFP on Oct. 24 quoted Felipe GĂłmez of a Guatemalan Maya alliance called Oxlaljuj Ajpop, who said: “We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit. They are not telling the truth about time cycles.” Huffington Post notes that GĂłmez objects to the “doomsday tour” packages being organized to exploit Maya cosmology for commercial purposes, and emphasizes that there is no Maya prophecy of an apocalypse associated with Friday’s turning (not “end”) of the calendar. 

    A website called Maya Decipherment, overseen by Dr. David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, asserts that this week’s turning of the 13th baktun will bring the Maya calendar back to the “creation date” supposedly rendered by the Maya as “13.0.0.0.0” (although the Maya didn’t use Arabic numerals, obviously), which was last thought to have occurred on Aug. 13, 3114 BCE. This is the first we have heard of this, and it is not explained why the “creation date” would be rendered with a 13 instead of a 1. Nor is any source provided. The text does take issue with the “end of the Maya calendar” misnomer, and decries that this “crazy idea” is the product of “New Age hacks” and “Hollywood producers.” It also states, perhaps too dismissively:

    Although the 260-day round of the ancient calendar system survived in a few areas of highland Guatemala, the 2012 date has nothing to do with it. It’s only associated with the Long Count, which ceased being used well before the conquest. So, any mention of 2012 by modern Maya peoples is probably an example of media or New Age influence.

    We encourage Dr. Stuart to be in touch with an explanation of the 13.0.0.0.0 “creation date.” Or why the end of the 13th baktun is rendered thusly.