From Y2K, to Nostradamus and to the Mayans: December 21, end of the world? Who knows…

From Y2K, to Nostradamus and to the Mayans: December 21, end of the world? Who knows…


The most hyped “end of the world” of the Christian era according to the Mayan apocalypse prophecy will be marked tonight in many clubs in downtown Yerevan. Rather, people will gather to celebrate the fact that it does not happen. We hope.

According to the Mayan calendar on that day of the winter solstice, the so called Fifth Sun will end its era, the planets will line up in a row on one side of the Sun, which will be in the center of the Milky Way, and there will be an inversion of the magnetic poles of the Earth as a result of which humankind will cease to exist. Or something like that.

Mayan prophecy has been Google-searched 41,200,000 times in recent days.

Armenians are not left out of the world trend as these days Armenians update their “end of the world” related statuses through Facebook, along with the statuses on the upcoming presidential elections, Gagik Tsarukyan’s withdrawal from the candidacy, illegal taping of politicians, and the conspiracy of sausage makers to raise consumer prices. Some even combine the statuses. One Facebook user writes: “For me, the end of the world means Sargsyan’s re-election.” Other replies: “Then it means we are already living in hell for several years. What kind of other ‘end of the world’ should we be afraid of?”

But still, most of the statuses say the end of the world will not happen. At least not now. Organizers and participants of the parties tend to the likelihood of the “end of the world” skeptically, however, most of them with reserve a reserve clause: "who knows…"

"I will go to the party with friends, but I don’t believe the Mayan calendar," said Maria, a student at the State Medical University. "But if it happens, it's better to meet it in a good company. If we are going to die, so let it be with fun and music,” said the 20-year-old.

A well known Armenian DJ Vakcina will perform on December 21 in the Kami Club. She says she believed in the “end of the world” when she was a child and when she heard about Nostradamus’ predictions. But now she is very optimistic about the future and advises everyone to go out and spend a nice day with friends.

"We as Christians should not believe in other’s prophecy. Christianity has its own prophecies, and no one knows when the doomsday comes,” says DJ Vakcina, who will kick off the doomsday party after midnight with about 200 guests expected.

Some clubs in Yerevan are not so optimistic and beckon visitors to "die together." “My Club” invites patrons to a “Drink and Die” party and calls everyone to “join and die on the very last party of the world. Well, or drink to the death”. The drinks’ prices will fall after 9 p.m. Because as, managers say, "who knows…" (No word on whether tabs must be paid prior to the 12th hour.)

Prior to this year’s announced apocalypse, there were others. In the late 90s, when the Internet was still a rarity in Armenia, 2000 was anxiously approached. What was initially expected to be “end of the world” (because of the new millennium) turned out to be “Y2K year”, when it was expected that on January 1, 2000 computers will change the last two digits from 99 to 00 and the year will turn into 1900 instead of 2000.

The only significant outcome was that a total amount of global investment spent on preparations for 2000 was $300 billion.

In 2006, people expected with fear a collision with asteroid Icarus. Armageddon was next to come in 2009 according to some interpretation of Nostradamus.

And finally, 2012. Who knows? (Absolutions are on the increase, just in case . . . )

In Russia, a set of “end of the world” goods are put on sale. For 800 rubles ($25) one can buy a package of buckwheat, candles and matches, a notepad and pencil, first aid medicines and for the extreme pessimists, a rope. And of course it comes with vodka. In China, in contrary, 93 people were arrested for spreading information about the end of the world
In Armenia the “end of the world” was cancelled on the official level. Astrophysics and Armenian clerics held a press conference in mid-December to tell people to not panic.

Director of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory Hayk Harutyunyan considers that the arguments, which are provided to confirm the “end of the world”, though richly flavored with scientific terminology, in fact have nothing to do with reality.

Harutyunyan said in reality the parade of planets cannot be, because the planets move at different speeds and may not line up in a row, though they can converge to some degrees, but at this point, such phenomena is not observed.

As for references to the Mayan calendar, Harutyunyan reminded that initially the apocalypse was scheduled for 2002. “But it did not happen and then they decided it was a mistake, and moved the date to 2012," he said.

He also warned people not to load the phone lines. "Because of the load people may not reach the subscribers they call and then a panic that the ‘end of the world’ happened somewhere may start," - joked Harutyunyan.

So who benefits from our fear of the end of the world?

The opponents of the “end of the world” say that the purpose of such information is to intimidate the population, at all costs to distract from real problems.

Meanwhile Armenians get ready for the New Year. The prophecy does not distract Armenians from preparations to mark the most important holiday of the year. The only panic is caused by prices and a fear of not being able to serve all guests with abundant tables – the tradition that continues from year to year, and cannot be broken because of the prophecy even from the great civilization.

Still, a golden angel was chosen as the symbol of this year’s holiday festivities. Coincidence? Who knows . . .