By Dexter Keyton, EnStarz | Dec 12, 2012 02:02 PM EST
The ancient Mayan calendar ends in just over a week, causing mixed reactions all over the world as some believe it may mean the end of civilization.
Thousands of travelers started to flock to Mexico and Central America for a series of celebrations to welcome the 'end of the world' on December 21. However, many believe the end of the current calendar just means that humanity is about to embark on the next Mayan era.
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The Mayan "Long Count" calendar began in 3114 BC and this year's end comes after an era spanning around 5,000-years.
The event is sure to be big business from tourists for the countries celebrating the date with fireworks and parties.
Five countries are participating in celebratory events: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
However, not everyone will be celebrating, as some fear the impending date as a the day the world ends.
Hieroglyphs of a "doomsday" prophecy found at an ancient Mayan site in Tortuguero, Mexico have sparked fear in many who interpret it as foretelling a dramatic end of civilization.
The end of world fervor has made big money for those capitalizing on the date with blockbusters like "2012" and books such as "The Mayan Testament" by Steve Alten.
"I think this tells us more about ourselves, particularly in the Western world, than it does about the ancient Maya," said Geoffrey Braswell, an associate professor of anthropology and leading Maya scholar at the University of California, San Diego to the Associated Press. "The idea that the world will end soon is a very strong belief in Western cultures. ... The Maya, we don't really know if they believed the world would ever end."
But many scholars who continue to study Mayan prophesies and the ancient calendar are not too worried.
"The Mayans had a cyclical concept of time, not one that ever focused on the end of the world," said Mexican archaeologist Jose Romero, as reported by the Huffington Post.
The date is almost here and there will be an end, but many people around the world hope for a good beginning to a new era.
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