Get your new Mayan calendar... the world's intact
With 'end of the world' concerns allayed, crowds gathered in Tikal, a large Mayan site in Guatemala, to celebrate a new era of the Mayan calendar.PT0M0S 620 349
THE Mayan calendar might have ended, but the world certainly has not.
As the clock ticked over to 10.11pm on Friday, December 21, there was no fanfare nor fatal collision with another planet. In Byron Bay, where close to a thousand people gathered to witness the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world, heavy rain fell instead.
Uplifting message marks world's end
Hundreds of people gathered at Byron Bay to mark the end of the world. Meditation soon turned to celebrated as the world continued. Photos by Koby Hagenfelds.
A four-day Uplift festival celebrating the event fell into in complete silence with a mass group meditation. Only the snoring of a young boy and the rain on the roof could be heard in the auditorium.
But for those on the brink of the mother of all come-downs, there was an expert on hand certified to administer cheer and first aid: clown doctor and '80s phenomenon, Patch Adams.
It was a remarkably sedate end to the hysteria about the so-called doomsday.
Despite academics and even NASA dismissing the armageddon, paranoia had been widespread in several communities, and many (notably environmentalists, spiritualists and the media) flocked to hotspots around the world and to witness the world's end.
At Mayan ruins, thousands of mystics, hippies, druids and pagans beat drums and blew conches around ceremonial fires as the sun came up. ''We are in a frequency of love, we are in a new vibration,'' said Ivan Gutierrez, 37, an artist, before a security guard told him to stop sounding his conch because he did not have a permit.
Earlier, Oxlaljuj Ajpop, a Mayan activist group in Guatemala, told reporters there that they objected to the commercialisation of the date. In Mexico, ageing New Agers from the United States, dressed in white and carrying yoga mats, raised their hands into the air at the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza, while a dude with dreadlocks played a didgeridoo.
''It's not the end of the world, it's an awakening of consciousness and good and love and spirituality - and it's been happening for a while,'' Mary Lou Anderson, 53, an information technology consultant from Las Vegas, told Reuters news service.
Locals cashed in on the hype in Bugarach, in the French Pyrenees - where journalists almost outnumbered villagers - by selling end of the world wine and apocalypse pizza. A global online conspiracy theory had suggested that the town's mountain was a vast underground car park for UFOs, but few true believers made it close enough to hitch a ride if the aliens did appear: only those with press or village passes were let through a police cordon to the mountain's peak.
In Byron Bay, the apocalypse heralded a new era for festival goers, with speakers suggesting we are at the cusp of a ''consciousness revolution''.
In the preceding hours, speakers including stem cell biologist and New York Times best selling author, Bruce Lipton, Patch Adams, Australia's poetry Slam champion, Luka Lesson and respected Aboriginal elder, Uncle Bob Randall, all called for a change in our current approach - to ourselves and to the earth.
''We need to make a decision,'' said Randall. ''Am I going to live for my need or for my greed?''
The peaceable message of the speakers was that the path to a healthy, sustainable future is one of love, awareness and connection with ourselves and one another.
Patch Adams, of movie fame, said people shouldn't feel depressed and powerless in the face of negative world news. ''The point is not to get depressed, but to get a fire [in your belly],'' he said.
The talks were punctuated with live music and dancing. At 10pm American musician Jonathan Goldman took the stage. He began by leading a chant, ''connecting through sound'' before guiding the audience into the silent meditation to mark the supposed moment the world, as we know it, would be wiped out.
The reflective mood lifted the following morning with the new dawn. Hundreds gathered with the rising sun at Main Beach, Byron Bay, on Saturday. Aboriginal elders performed ceremonies and spoke again about the importance of people coming together to create change. Accompanied by didgeridoos, they then led the crowd in dance, which continued, barefoot on the beach, throughout the morning. The world did not end and people, it seemed, were in the mood to celebrate.
With GINA McCOLL, Agencies