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Mexico's Maya heartland greets dawn of new era

  • People gather in front of the Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. American seer Star Johnsen-Moser led a whooping, dancing, drum-beating ceremony Thursday in the heart of Mayan territory to consult several of the life-sized crystal skulls, which adherents claim were passed down by the ancient Maya. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

MERIDA, Mexico — Dec. 21 started out as the prophetic day some had believed would usher in the fiery end of the world. By Friday afternoon, it had become the punch line of countless Facebook posts and at least several dozen T-shirts.

At the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, thousands chanted, danced and otherwise frolicked around ceremonial fires and pyramids to mark the conclusion of a vast, 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar.

The doomsayers who had predicted apocalypse were nowhere to be seen. Instead, people showed up in T-shirts reading "The End of the World: I Was There."

Vendors eager to sell their ceramic handicrafts and wooden masks called out to passing visitors, "Buy something before the world ends."

And on Twitter, (hash)EndoftheWorld had become one of the day's most popular hash tags.


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