The 2012 Phenomena

po_Phenomena-2012The 2012 phenomenon was a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur on or around December 21, 2012. This date was regarded as the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, and as such, festivities to commemorate the date took place on 21 December 2012 in the countries that were part of the Mayan civilization (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), with main events at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, and Tikal in Guatemala.

Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae were proposed as pertaining to this date, all unequivocally rejected by all scholarship. A New Age interpretation held that the date marked the start of a period during which Earth and its inhabitants would undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that December 21, 2012 would mark the beginning of a new era. Others suggested that the date marked the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world included the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth’s collision with a planet called Nibiru.

Scholars from various disciplines quickly dismissed predictions of concomitant cataclysmic events as they arose. Professional Mayanist scholars stated that no extant classic Maya accounts forecast impending doom, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresented Maya history and culture, while astronomers rejected the various proposed doomsday scenarios as pseudoscience, easily refuted by elementary astronomical observations.