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Hot spots draw believers but not Mayan doomsday

Published: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 10:05 a.m. CDT

As the sun rose from time zone to time zone across the world on Friday, there was still no sign of the world’s end — but that didn’t stop those convinced that a 5,125-year Mayan calendar predicts the apocalypse from gathering at some of the world’s purported survival hot spots.

Many of the esoterically inclined expected a new age of consciousness — others wanted a party. But, in some places said to offer salvation from the end, fewer people showed up than officials had predicted — much to the disappointment of vendors hoping to sell souvenirs.

In an area of Mexico that was once the ancient Mayan heartland, spiritualists gathered in the darkness before dawn on Friday to prepare white clothes, drums, conch shells and incense. They believed the sunrise would herald the birth of a new and better age as a vast cycle in the Mayan calendar comes to an end.

Many people who came to Yucatan for the occasion were already calling it “a new sun” and “a new era.”

The apocalypse has proven a good business, with some shops in Russia selling survival aid packages that include soap and vodka.

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