December 21: Doomsday or a new day?

21 December marks the end of a 5,200-year cycle on the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. While it’s a time of celebration for many people, some others are preparing for the end of the world
  • Mayan priests hold a water blessing ceremony at the Noc Ac cenote -a natural deep deposit of water in Mexico-to celebrate the end of Baktun 13, the Maya Long Count Calendar and the beginning of a new era. Photos: AFP
  • A group of Chinese men check a map in front of a poster of the movie “2012” in Beijing. China had arrested nearly 1,000 people by Thursday, for spreading doomsday rumours and targeting communist rule.
  • People take part in a Mayan ritual during the ancient Chickaban feast to honor the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl and the storm god Kukulcan at the Xoclan Archaeo-ecological Park in Merida, Mexico.
  • Farmer Liu Qiyuan exits one of seven survival pods in a yard in Qiantun, Beijing. Qiyuan says he may have just what humanity needs: tsunami-proof survival pods to survive the apocalypse.
  • Jay Blevins with his wife Holly Blevins and their children pose with survival gear including a buyout bag, an AR-15 rifle and a hunting bow in Berryville, Virginia. The family has been preparing for a possible doomsday scenario.
  • A view of the Uritorco hill, near Capilla del Monte. Authorities will shut down access to the Uritorco from 20 to 22 December following an appeal on Facebook for people to climb the hill on 21 December and commit “massive spiritual suicide”.
  • Cisternino, a town in Italy, is one of the few places on earth which, it is believed, will be spared when the world ends on 21 December.
  • A sign on a rural road points the way to a site where survival condos are being built in a former nuclear missile silo in Salina, Kansas.
  • The mayor of Bugarach, Jean-Pierre Delord, poses on 14 December 2010 in front of a Bugarach peak road sign, the 1,231 meter high peak of Bugarah, France. Some doomsday theories say Bugarach peak will be spared on 21 December.
  • Cubans participate in a Mayan ritual at Bacuranao beach in Havana on 6 December.
  • Honduras’s Maya Chorti and Guatemala´s Quirigua vie for the ball in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. The ancient Mayan ball game is part of celebrations that will finish on 21 December.
  • A worker puts finishing touches before the opening of Santuario de la Esperanza (Sanctuary of Hope) similar to the Mayan steles (monuments) in Cancún, Mexico.
  • A man walks by a wall displaying Mayan figures in Tegucigalpa.
  • Mayan shamans perform a ceremony at the Cihuatan Archeological site in the town of Aguilares, El Salvador, on 18 December.
  • Tourists are seen in front of the “Gran Jaguar” Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site in Peten departament, Guatemala City. Ceremonies will be held here to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle.
  • Three 2,70 meters high lucky horns created by Italian artist Lello Esposito to prevent the end of the world, inside his atelier in Naples on 15 December.