Mayan elder says world won't end in 2012
Apolinario Chile Pixtun says the date will not bring the end of the world - despite claims the Mayan calendar shows that time will "run out".
"I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff," he told the Daily Telegraph.
Mr Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.
A significant time period for the Mayans does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012.
The Mayan civilization, based in modern day Mexico and Central America, reached its height from 300 AD to 900 AD and had a talent for astronomy.
Its Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 BC, marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas, and the 13th Baktun ends around December 21, 2012.
A Mayan stone tablet found in Mexico in the 1960s says something is supposed to happen involving Bolon Yokte, the god of war and creation, in 2012 - but the end of the prophesy is illegible.
"It's a special anniversary of creation," said David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin.
"The Maya never said the world is going to end, they never said anything bad would happen necessarily, they're just recording this future anniversary on Monument Six."