Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Reason for the New Year's Celebration

At the stroke of Midnight on January 1st, the great twinkling globe drops in New York City. The iconic symbol in Times Square is seen around the world as that moment when yesterday is truly past and the brightness of the future is just a moment away.

New York's Time Square at the big moment each year!

Fireworks which started in China thousands of years ago were the product of the attempt to scare away the evil spirits which had inhabited the previous year. To this day hundreds of countries shoot those starry eruptions into the night sky as a celebration for a new year in the hopes of having a better future for the next 365 days. Bad spirits blasted away and the desire for a clean slate a must. Sounds pretty good.

Beijing celebrates
This special day - this January 1st is also attempt at reconciling hurt feelings among friends and family. It's a time to start over. A date when the past should be forgotten and a new day dawning with promises of nothing but happiness and success.

Various cultures have very different rituals which they conduct on this first day of the new year to make sure the coming year is a happy and successful one.

The ancient Babylonians would return borrowed items on this day to ensure they were not considered thieves. The Scots went "first footing," going from neighbor to neighbor wishing them well and praying for a prosperous new year. The Dutch believed the circle represents a symbol of success so they would eat donuts on New Years Day. The Greeks would bake a special cake called a Vassilopitta with a coin inside giving whoever got that slice the idea the new year would be prosperous if not one filled with a broken molar. The Japanese hold the Bonenkai, or 'forget-the-year-parties,' to say goodbye to the problems and negative issues which may have caused grief to individuals. Certain cultures clean their houses on the first day of the new year as a way to cleanse themselves and their surroundings indicating the year will be free of clutter and waste. Left overs in the fridge are tossed in the trash to make sure only good healthy food is present at the beginning of the new year.

Traditions are as varied as the people who stick to them each and every year and for good reason, according Psychology Today. In an article entitled 'Why We Really Celebrate New Year's Day' the ideas are expressed as a way for humans to look forward to the new year as an opportunity to cleanse themselves from possible digressions of the past.

The new year is a time to look into our very souls and understand that a new time is upon us and perhaps we should do a better job in the next twelve months than we may have done in the previous twelve. Be forgiving family members, be better friends, be nicer to strangers and those in need. To treat each person as a brother or sister instead of as an enemy. It is survival that most humans want and that means to tolerate if not openly accept each other as an individual and to put aside the differences we see in each other and just accept that we are unique.

In the New Testament perhaps there is a verse that everyone on this planet should take to heart - Christian or not:

Luke 6:31 'Do to others as you would have them do to you.'

In this coming New Year - toast as the glittery ball falls in New York City and make resolutions but remember the Golden Rule - then and maybe then the wonders of a new beginning may actually take place.

From J and L - to all our friends and family

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