Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Rituals

The end of the year and beginning of the next is always a bit cathartic for me. Some years were good, some were bad, but I often have a sense of ridding myself of the baggage I acquired during the year. 2016 hasn't been so good for me or my family, or a lot of people I hold dear, so I'll be celebrating its demise!

As I leave one phase behind, like many people, I try to rid myself of any negative energy from the previous year, so one of the things I always do before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st is to make sure that all of my laundry is washed. Symbolically, I don't want to leave carry any 'dirt' with me into the new year.

It's nice to make a fresh start with all things clean and fresh. In fact, I also run my dishwasher, whether or not it's full. All trash is taken outside. If I had my way, I'd order a garbage pickup for every December 31st. But alas, I don't make those rules!

I even do a virtual clean-out of my computer files, deleting anything I'm sure I won't need, and eliminating any saved links I haven't used for a while. Basically, if it is clutter, it goes.

Several friends eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day, although that isn't something I do. Where I live in the south, the tradition is thought to bring prosperity in the year ahead.

There are many other rituals and traditions that are more widespread -- kissing your sweetheart at midnight is said to bring good luck; popping the cork on a bottle of champagne has its roots in the Christian ritual of consuming wine during the Eucharist. Singing Auld Lang Syne began as a British and Scottish funeral mainstay, but came to the US when the Guy Lombardo Orchestra played it on New Year's Eve at a bash in a New York hotel.

It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without the iconic ball dropping in Times Square. That tradition comes from sailors who, in the old days used 'time balls' placed in various harbors at certain times to set their own time pieces while at sea.

And fireworks? Well those were first created in seventh-century China with the express purpose of warding off evil spirits.

However and wherever you celebrate, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

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