THE WORLDPOST
12/21/2012 01:17 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2012

Evo Morales, Bolivia's President, Celebrates Mayan 'Apocalypse' With Tradition, Ushers In Era Of Love (PHOTOS)

The Mayan apocalypse, predicted to take place on Dec. 21, has arrived without so much as a sputter. But while many around the world began to shutter their arks and bunkers in wait for another doomsday, Bolivia's president was celebrating the arrival of a new era.

Evo Morales was expected to mark the auspicious day by sailing across Lake Titicaca on a huge reed boat to attend a celebration on the Island of the Sun, Desert Local News reports.

The boat, said to be one of the largest reed ships built in modern times, is a 50-foot long vessel made out of reeds that grow along the edges of the lake, Indian Country Today reports.

Described as "remarkable," the boat, which weighs about 12 tons, has garnered quite a bit of attention. It was constructed by Aymara indigenous boatbuilders and is believed to be similar to ships that traveled on Titicaca's waters for thousands of years.

"We're proud," said 67-year-old Demetrio Limachi, a famed Aymara boatbuilder who spearheaded the construction of the "Thunupa," of the boatbuilding tradition. "It's a source of pride for us and the whole country of Bolivia."

According to reports. Morales believes that the end of the long-count calendar of the Mayans, which coincides with the 2012 winter solstice, marks the beginning of a "new era of peace and love."

"According to the Mayan calendar, the 21st of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time," he told the UN in September, according to Indian Country Today. "It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth."

The Guardian writes:

The Bolivian government has hailed the solstice as the start of an age in which community and collectivity will prevail over capitalism and individuality.

Those themes have long been present in Morales's discourse… He has stressed the importance of a harmonious balance between human life and the planet, though some people question its application in Bolivia, where the economy depends heavily on mining, oil and gas industries.

Friday's festivities on the Island of the Sun comes after a six-day long celebration in preparation for the solstice. Thousands are expected to participate in the celebrations.

Click through this slideshow to see photographs of Morales and his countrymen during some of the past week's festivities:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Bolivia's Solstice Celebrations

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