The end of the world hysteria, as I read not too long ago, seemed to be gripping the more paranoid around the world. The superstitious are citing all sorts of reasons why the world will end on 2012, and Mongolia has its fair share of doomsayers.
One of my fellow Mongolia volunteers posted an interesting theory from one of his counterparts on his Facebook page one day. It read like this: The woman was worried about an influx of Chinese coming to Mongolia. They were heading to the countryside and buying up gers to ride out the apocalypse. Why Mongolia? Why gers? Because the traditional Mongolian lifestyle of ger living does not require electricity, running water, or technology. While the rest of the world falls into disrepair, ger dwellers will continue their peaceful existence. What is this particular disaster the Chinese are avoiding? 12 days of complete and total darkness.
The darkness theory seems to be spreading, or somewhat popular, in Mongolia. I was planning lessons with one of my teachers when she mentioned the end of the world. We had talked about this before, and I told her I thought the 2012 phenomenon was all a lot of hype, but that nothing would happen to any of us. She mentioned that her parents talked about the 12 days of total darkness.
“I don’t think humans can survive 12 days with no sun,” she said.
“Do you believe the world will end? Will we have 12 days with no sun?” I asked.
“No, I don’t believe, but if there were no sun for 12 days, I don’t think we would live.”
Another teacher in the room overheard, and joined in, my teacher translating for her. The other teacher explained that her parents thought the world was going to end because of something they heard from one of the monks. She mentioned something about ill omens and forecasts in the stars that predicted the loss of our sun.
“A monk said this?” I asked.
“Yes,” my teacher translated.
“Do you believe this?”
“No, I think it is silly.”
While the superstitious cry out about the end of times, there are still a healthy number of skeptics who look at their claims with suspicion. What will I do December 20th and 21st? Well, since the 21st is a Friday, and I will experience it before my colleagues, friends, and family in North America do, I will throw a party and enjoy my “last day” (After work, of course). Then I will let my friends know how the world ended on my side of the world. It’s the least I could do, really.