Around the world, superstitious people have fretted over a quixotic, not to say apocalyptic, interpretation of the calendar -- taking refuge in mountains or bunkers, with some stockpiling guns and survival rations.
Or perhaps the end of the world, depending on your point of view.
At the site, there were no signs that doomsday -- the stark scenario conjured by proponents of one minority reading of the ancient Mayan calendar that underlies the festivities -- was imminent.
The mystery stems from a carved stone found in Tortuguero, a Mayan site in Mexico. The relief contains a cryptic allusion to something really big happening on Friday.
However, most experts interpret the calendar to mean December 21, 2012 is simply the end a 5,200-year era for the Maya and the start of another.
This reading says that Friday marks the end of 13 cycles with which they measured time -- each lasting 400 years.
If that's right, everybody can relax and enjoy the ceremonies as folklore.
Well, we can still take a look at how people around the globe prepare for the much anticipated doomsday.