Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year

This Friday night people will gather together -- many of them quite inebriated -- to welcome in the "new" year. This festive atmosphere is not the property of any one country or region; it is celebrated around the world. (Societies that utilize a different calendar system may have their own celebrations at a different time.)

As with Christmas, I am very ambivalent toward New Year's Eve/New Year's Day. It is not that I disagree with the marking of time (be it an illusion or not), but in my mind's eye, every moment begins a new "year." As I type these words, the second hand has moved a notch or two. If each of us is is still alive, why aren't we celebrating?

If you think about it, life itself calls for celebration. We didn't ask to come into existence, yet here we are. Every nanosecond of being is a miracle. So, why set aside an externally-derived date to whoop it up? Why not stomp and holler for this moment right now?


  1. It's just a marking of cycles (which is a very Taoist thing); and all these things, from Thanksgiving to New Years provide joyful memories to cherish...I have very fond recollections of holiday celebrations as a child from Thanksgiving at home, Christmas at the great aunts', New Years Eve at the paternal grandparents (with a requisite lecherous great uncle).

    While you are correct in every moment being cause for celebration, I see nothing wrong in annual rites. It just steps outside the quotidian for a moment And I LOVE Chinese New Year because it truly is linked to astronomical events, that big cosmic clock of yin and yang.

  2. Nothing wrong with celebration days. Like using words and names: true, existence is a boundless, unnamable thing. But it is human nature to use names anyways. So also with special holidays and such. Yes, every day, every moment is holy, but you can't have great festivities every day.

    By beef with New Year's has always been that it is a totally random date. It should be set on the winter solstice, or the spring equinox.

  3. Brandon -- that's my point about CNY. It's not random. (Lunar new year.)
    Winter solstice is good, but the reason tradition had saturnalia (or Christmas) a few days after was because it took a couple of days to be REALLY sure the sun was coming back. (As solar traditions.)

    Really all of our festivals are in fact linked one way or another to the solar and lunar positions.


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