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Modern-day Mayans: What end of the world? (PHOTOS)
Thursday, December 20th, 2012

YUCATAN, Mexico — It's not the mass mayhem one might expect from a people believed to have predicted Earth's last day. GlobalPost visits southeastern Mexico, where present-day descendants of the great ancient Maya live, and none seemed to be repenting, or partying like it was 1999.

Warm Mayan communities went about their days like any other, unfazed by popular doomsday predictions that have drawn crowds of tourists to Mexico and Central America.

After all, they know a little secret about what will really take place on Dec. 21 — but you won't find any spoilers here.

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Most modern day Mayan people, who populate a large portion of the southeastern part of Mexico, are unfazed by the doomsday predictions. Here, two young Mayan girls play games on a cell phone in the town of Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Contrary to what pop culture has been promoting, Maya scholars and priests say the world is not coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, but rather the date involves a galactic realignment and the transition to a new 394-year period known as a "baktun."

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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In small towns throughout Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, like San Juan de Dios, the Maya's culture still thrives and is an important part of modern life, but current doomsday predictions hold little sway with residents. Colorful women's blouses hang out to dry in front of a thatched-roof home typical of the Maya.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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A young woman and her daughter take corn to a nearby house for milling into dough that will be used to make tortillas, a staple of the local diet.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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A toddler sleeps during the hot afternoon in a hammock inside the family's thatched-roof house.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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Tricycles are a favorite form of transportation on the streets of many towns like San Juan.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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A young boy rides his bike by a playground in the center of the modern-day Maya town of San Juan.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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A small palm tree and red door in San Juan.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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A good example of a typical Mayan-style thatched-roof home in San Juan.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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Pedro Canul, 78, is a Mayan priest and "curandero" in San Juan. Scholars and priests like Canul say the world is not coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, but rather the date involves a galactic realignment and the transition to a new 394-year period known as a "baktun."

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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Silverio Canche, a resident of San Juan with a recently harvested papaya.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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In anticipation of "end of the world" festivities, tourists visit the Mayan ball court at the archaeological site of Coba in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Coba, in the greater Zona Maya was an important political and religious center during the Mesoamerican late classic period.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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Las Pinturas area at Coba.

(Keith Dannemiller - GlobalPost)
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