Some people around the world are preparing for Dec. 21, 2012 — a date on the ancient Mayan calendar that's received plenty of attention as the supposed "end of days."  

Over the past four decades, hundreds of books have been devoted to the "doomsday" interpretation of Mayan writings and interest has intensified as the day grows closer.  

But what is the true significance of the date?   

CBC News Calgary talks with Kathryn Reese-Taylor, an associate professor of Mayan archaeology at the University of Calgary, on the actual beliefs of the ancient culture.

  • Watch the videos above for Reese-Taylor's take on the prevalent doomsday theory, what else Mayan history has to offer and what Mayans today think of all the attention surrounding their calendar.

"The world is not going to end," she said. "Pay your taxes. You'll be around to ring in 2013 on our calendar.... There's only a shifting over of one era to another, in much the same way as we shifted from the 20th to the 21st Century." 

She said 2012 is not the furthest date in the future that the Maya record.

CBC Quirks & Quarks reported in November that Felipe Gomez, leader of an alliance of Maya people in Guatemala, also said that the Maya never predicted the world would end on that date, and those who promote the idea insult their culture.