Guatemala’s Mayan people accused the government and tour groups of cynically perpetuating the myth that their calendar foresees the end of the world.

“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,” said Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance Oxlajuj Ajpop.

Gomez points out that their government (and tour companies) are actively promoting a belief that is contrived, and contrary to that of the indigenous people of Guatemala. For example the The Culture Ministry is running a huge event in Guatemala City to coincide with the “end of the world” and they expect 90,000 people will attend.

Gomez’s group said the new Maya time cycle simply “means there will be big changes on the personal, family and community level, so that there is harmony and balance between mankind and nature”.

That’s the modern interpretation. Unfortunately the last time the Long Count calendar ended pre-dated the Maya, and nobody really knows what happened.