The Straits Times
Published on Dec 07, 2012

Mayan sages perform sacred rite on Cuba beach


BACURANAO, Cuba (AP) - Three Guatemalan sages burned wood resin, seeds, fruits and flowers on a beach outside Havana on Thursday in a ceremony marking the end of a Mayan calendar cycle that some have wrongly interpreted as a prediction of a looming apocalypse.

Raising their hands to the sky and praying in their indigenous language, they kissed each offering before tossing them into the flames or the waves to invoke the gods' favor.

"We are at a moment of profound connection," Pedro Celestino Yac Noj said. "We came here to share the sacred fire and make offerings to mother Earth and the sea."

The ceremony in Bacuranao, 20km east of the Cuban capital, took place two weeks before Dec 21, 2012, when a more than 5,000-year period of the Mayan calendar ends.