The latest end-of-the-world prophecy has many on edge as the calendar creeps towards Dec. 21, the supposedly last day of existence on earth, according to some conspiracy theorists. Similar to how the masses prepared themselves for the worst-case scenario at the turn of the millennia during the Y2K computer glitch scare, many are taking precautionary measures in anticipation of the apocalyptic events they expect will transpire this Friday.

“2012 has put massive fear in Europeans because they have not lived through this before,” said lecturer Azzaziel Bey. “They’ve only been here for a short period of time and don’t know what the end of a cycle means.”

The Mayan calendar, as in many indigenous cultures, is a system for tabulating time in its various aspects and predates the Gregorian calendar by thousands of years. The cyclical solar, lunar and stellar calendars are most prominent, but of particular interest in this case is the 5,125-year lineal Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, set to expire this Friday. It resembles a car’s odometer, counting up and repeating after reaching its maximum capacity, unlike the current ones which continue through infinity.

Some analysts predict that a galactic alignment will trigger a series of cataclysms on earth, causing the planet’s polar axis to realign, sparking disasters across the globe and bringing an end to civilization as we know it. Yet, other experts suggest that the Mayan calendar has been grossly misinterpreted and that the media has played a significant role in creating the hysteria to once again instill fear in the public. Most scholars, though, expect life to continue on as routinely planned.

“That is all part of mind control. The powers-that-be scare the ‘sheople’ up so that they can control and prevent them from being proactive,” maintains urban griot La Meh Nua. “The mass media is utilized to persuade their thinking, leading them astray.”

While many get ready for the doomsday prophesy to possibly be fulfilled, indigenous people in Central America plan to celebrate the closing of the current era, which began in 3113 B.C.E., and the introduction of the new one. Instead of preparing for disaster to strike, they will be celebrating in the streets of Mexico and at least five other countries, stressing the cultural significance of the event.

While the hoopla regarding the Mayan calendar has caused a significant increase in the region’s tourism, area leaders detest the commercialization of the event, as parasitic merchants cash in on the popular topic.

The referred-to prophesy is said to have originated in an ancient Mayan monument in Tortuguero, Mexico, and is believed to have been left by a Mayan chief. Some scholars say the prediction imply the end of all life, but rather the conclusion of the old Mayan calendar and the beginning of another.