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Pictures | Fri Dec 21, 2012 | 11:21pm IST

End of a Mayan era

<p>Tourists practice yoga at the ruins at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. Mystics, hippies and tourists descended on the ruins of Maya cities to mark the close of the 13th bak'tun - a period of around 400 years - and many hoped it would lead to a better era for humanity. This week, 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 across Mexico and Central America. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

Tourists practice yoga at the ruins at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. Mystics, hippies and tourists descended on the ruins of Maya cities to mark the close of the 13th bak'tun - a period of...more

Tourists practice yoga at the ruins at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. Mystics, hippies and tourists descended on the ruins of Maya cities to mark the close of the 13th bak'tun - a period of around 400 years - and many hoped it would lead to a better era for humanity. This week, 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 across Mexico and Central America. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>People dance as they count down to the end of the 13th bak'tun in the Maya Long Calendar near the base of the Uritorco hill in the Argentine city of Capilla del Monte, Cordoba province, December 21, 2012.   REUTERS/Mariano Paiz</p>

People dance as they count down to the end of the 13th bak'tun in the Maya Long Calendar near the base of the Uritorco hill in the Argentine city of Capilla del Monte, Cordoba province, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mariano Paiz

People dance as they count down to the end of the 13th bak'tun in the Maya Long Calendar near the base of the Uritorco hill in the Argentine city of Capilla del Monte, Cordoba province, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mariano Paiz

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<p>Tourists meditate at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

Tourists meditate at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Tourists meditate at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>A Mayan shaman blesses tourists at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

A Mayan shaman blesses tourists at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

A Mayan shaman blesses tourists at the archaeological site of the Maya civilization of Copan, Honduras, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>People pray as they walk around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.  REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez </p>

People pray as they walk around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta...more

People pray as they walk around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A woman prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A woman prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz...more

A woman prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A Mayan priest prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A Mayan priest prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz...more

A Mayan priest prays around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.  REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

People pray around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Musicians perform around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

Musicians perform around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz...more

Musicians perform around a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "The welcome of the Grandfather Sun and of the Sacred New Fire to the Humanity", to receive the 13th Baktun, in the morning, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Two people pray at the Grand Jaguar pyramid a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.  REUTERS/William Gularte</p>

Two people pray at the Grand Jaguar pyramid a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/William Gularte

Two people pray at the Grand Jaguar pyramid a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/William Gularte

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<p>A performer in costume takes part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

A performer in costume takes part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

A performer in costume takes part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera</p>

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Performers in costumes take part in a Mayan Culture Festival to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, in downtown Copan, Honduras, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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<p>A man arranges pre-Hispanic symbols and the Guatemalan flag (C) before the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A man arranges pre-Hispanic symbols and the Guatemalan flag (C) before the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta...more

A man arranges pre-Hispanic symbols and the Guatemalan flag (C) before the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla (L) takes photos with her mobile phone a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/William Gularte</p>

Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla (L) takes photos with her mobile phone a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/William Gularte

Costa Rica's President Laura Chinchilla (L) takes photos with her mobile phone a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration at the Tikal Mayan ruins in Peten, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/William Gularte

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<p>Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Francisco Martin</p>

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

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<p>Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Francisco Martin</p>

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

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<p>Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Francisco Martin</p>

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

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<p>Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Francisco Martin</p>

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

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<p>Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Francisco Martin</p>

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

Local indigenous Mayan actors perform during the 'Sacred Moments in the Life of the Maya' play in the municipality of Valladolid, in the Mexican state of Yucatan December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francisco Martin

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<p>Mayan priest Carlos Tun blows a conch shell horn during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

Mayan priest Carlos Tun blows a conch shell horn during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

Mayan priest Carlos Tun blows a conch shell horn during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A woman burns incense and walks past a child during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A woman burns incense and walks past a child during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

A woman burns incense and walks past a child during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A woman burns candles in the sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A woman burns candles in the sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

A woman burns candles in the sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A man is "cleansed" with candles next to a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A man is "cleansed" with candles next to a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz...more

A man is "cleansed" with candles next to a sacred fire during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Segunda Conexion" (Second Connection) to commemorate the 13th bak'tun, an epoch lasting roughly 400 years, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Carlos Tun, a Mayan priest, prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.   REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

Carlos Tun, a Mayan priest, prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic,...more

Carlos Tun, a Mayan priest, prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>A man prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

A man prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

A man prays and participates in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Indigenous people participate in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

Indigenous people participate in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region,...more

Indigenous people participate in the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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<p>Mayan priests kiss the floor during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012.    REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez</p>

Mayan priests kiss the floor during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz...more

Mayan priests kiss the floor during the pre-Hispanic mass of "Primera Conexion" and "Sincronizacion Espiritual" (First Connection and Spiritual Synchronization), to commemorate the 13th Baktun, outside the Chi Ixim church in Tactic, Alta Verapaz region, Guatemala, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

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