The date marks the end of an era that lasted over 5,000 years, according to the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. Some believe that the date, which coincides with the December solstice, marks the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs, an idea ridiculed by scholars. The Maya didn't say much about what would happen next, after a 5,125-year cycle comes to an end. So into that void have rushed occult writers, bloggers and New Age visionaries foreseeing all manner of monumental change, from doomsday to a new age of enlightenment. At sunrise on Friday, December 21, an era closes in the Maya Long Count calendar, an event that has been likened by different groups to the end of days, the start of a new, more spiritual age or a good reason to hang out at old Maya temples.