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A Mayan dancer performs at the Xcaret Eco Theme Park on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. Amid a worldwide frenzy of advertisers and new-agers preparing for a Maya apocalypse, one group is approaching Dec. 21 with calm and equanimity, the people whose ancestors supposedly made the prediction in the first place. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

In Mexico, New Agers hope Dec. 21 brings new era

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MERIDA, Mexico (AP) — The celebration of the cosmic dawn began with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honor Friday's end of the Mayan long count calendar.

Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that was knocked out of the ceremonial brazier onto the wooden stage.

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