End of time?

By | Travel

This December, one region of the world is bracing for an event of epic proportions.

The Mayan territories — the Yucatan, El Salvadar, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize — are preparing to celebrate the finality of their ancient 5,125 year Long Count calendar on 21 December 2012.This date also coincides with a rare (once every 26,000 years) alignment of the solar meridian and the galactic equator, and of the Earth with the center of the galaxy.

Spiritualists are heralding the dawn of a new era of unity. Tourism boards such as Mexico’s are already counting their cash inflows. And the rest of the populace — who happen to be aware of this event — seems to see it as a prime opportunity to throw a party (a-la millennium).

Around the globe, from London to LA, events are set to take place on this special solstice. Many, impishly or jokingly use the phrase ‘end of the world’ in their titles. However, all seem to espouse the spirit of socialising and healthy outlooks.

London: With one world’s end, comes another’s beginning. A big dance party at Hoxton Docks will celebrate 21/12/12 with a trippy take on Noah’s famous ark. Noah’s Psychedelic Dreamboat promises elaborate set builds, unique visuals, deep house and an interactive, experimental experience. You needn’t arrive in pairs — but may well leave with a partner. Tickets: £8-£15. Visit skiddle.com for details On the brainy side of things, physics superstar Brian Cox will host an ‘End of the World Show’ and Robin Ince. Expect a provocative blend of comedy, science and music and a Mayan prophecy undertone. Hammersmith Apollo. Tickets: £25-£40.
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Stonehenge: The Mayan Calendar end date is a mystery to many. Some will want to honour one mystery with another. What better place to be during a once-in-26,000-years solstice event than Stonehenge? Each year, hoards of pagans from the UK and beyond head to Wiltshire to see the sun rise over its massive stone tablets. This year should be particularly special. The precise time of the Winter solstice on 21 December is 11:39 p.m. Sunset will take place at 3:53 p.m. Photo: © Kieran Doherty/In Pictures/Corbis
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Bugarach, France: Dust off your aluminium foil hat and your Star Trek uniform. South Central France will be a hub for alien aficionados on 21 December. Bugarach, a small mountain-side town populated by just 189 people, has piqued the interest of e.t. fans who believe it to be a centre for alien activity. They also predict that on the big Mayan Calendar end date, human civilisation will come to an end. There, surrounded by vibrations of higher life forms, in the ‘sacred mountains’ some will seek shelter from what they perceive to be global havoc. And worst comes to worst, if their predictions fail, the wine connoisseurs among them will surely enjoy a trek to the lovely nearby vineyards in Corbières. Photo: © Yvan Travert/Photononstop/Corbis
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Hollywood: As the worldwide movie industry capital, LA is no stranger to global mellodramatics, Will Smith style. The city of angels will be home to meditation, art and theatrical events on 21 December. These include an ‘End of Days: Armageddon Art Exhibit’ at Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood — which shows that ‘destruction’ can be creative. Hollywood’s Philosophical Research Society will also feature a one-time performance of The Edge of Forever a play about the Mayan Calendar. In addition, there will be a special unifying solstice group meditation at Golden Bridge Yoga, also in Hollywood. Photo Courtesy of Antebellum Gallery
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Uxmal: Some will brave the throngs of tourists on 21/21/12 and head right into the ‘eye of the storm’ so to speak: the Mayan World. One multi-day party is taking place in Uxmal (home to the ‘Pyramid of the Magician’). Dubbed ‘The Party For Peace on Earth,’ the event promises music, light shows and bands. Email ncalhoun@xtremepongsports.com for more information. Photo: © Melvyn Longhurst/Corbis
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Chichen-Itza: Another Mayan World hot spot on 21 December 2012 is Chichen-Itza, home of the famed El Castilo pyramid (depicted in so many photographs). Each year, on special occasions like the solstices and equinoxes, the heritage site becomes inundated with visitors. This year’s solstice may well exceed those expectations. A festival and global gathering, Synthesis 2012, will take place at Chichen-Itza and Piste Pueblo from 20-23 December. It will include world music (African, Afro-Funk fusion, Cuban, Mayan and reggae styles) as well as presentations by speakers and tours of the Mayan temples, with rare access. General day passes cost $75-$250. Photo: © Richard A. Cooke/Corbis
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