- It's almost December 31st, a perfect time for me to contemplate
the arrival of baby number 2005. Please don't misunderstand, I am referring
to the New Year, not an addition to my family.
- People are poised on the edge of 2004 awaiting the fall
of the ball into the beginning of 2005. "Happy New Year" will
be shouted from gatherings all over the United States as people hug and
kiss friends and strangers. The strains of the curious song Auld Lang Syne
will echo across the country. Nobody has ever given me a reasonable explanation
as to why "old acquaintances" should be "forgot" as
December 31st turns into January 1st. Personally, I think it sounds rather
ageist........ especially as I grow closer to becoming one of those "old"
- Restaurants will raise their already elevated prices
in honor of the New Year. It's a good time to fleece the sheeple. Perhaps
everyday is a good time for that, but people are more agreeable to being
robbed blind as they ring out the old.
- Some cynics say that the holiday was started by the liquor
industry as an excuse for one major year end toot. Hats and horns and scotch
and soda .......as the train of holiday festivities races towards its destination....the
New Year. The paper trail, absent during the election, will now be strewn
over the streets.
- I don't mean to sound sacrilegious, however I can't help
but question what all this noise is about. What's the history of the tradition?
I turn to my computer for the answer.
- Interestingly enough, the first New Year seems to have
made its appearance in ancient Babylon and not on January 1st. In the years
around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (the
first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (the first day of spring).
Celebrating the new year at springtime seems logical to me. After all,
it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming.
Can you envision Times Square filled with drunken celebrants on a nice
balmy spring night? I know...it's not a pretty picture at any time of year,
however, some traditions just should not be tampered with. The choice of
January 1st was purely arbitrary ...having no astronomical nor agricultural
- Baby New Year as a symbol, was born in Greece around
600 BC. To celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, the Greeks paraded a
baby in a basket. It represented the annual rebirth of the god as the spirit
- The early Catholic Church condemned the holiday as paganism
and remained in oppostion through the Middle Ages. Ultimately, the popularity
of the "bundle of joy" forced the Church to re-evaluate its position
and, once again, it succumbed to the pagan influence as Baby New Year was
- We can thank Robert Burns for the song "Auld Lang
Syne:" Though early variations were sung prior to 1700, it was Burns
who produced the modern rendition. And so today......people sip their Scotch
to the old Scotch tune, which literally means "old long ago,"
or simply, "the good old days."
- What does the New Year mean to us? Is it merely a time
to turn the calendar, have one too many and party hearty? Is it a time
to "ring in the new" with our faces in the toilet bowl? Or....can
we find a deeper signifance in this ancient ritual. Some would say that
this is a time to reflect back upon the past year and make resolutions
for the coming one. Interestingly, this tradition too dates back to the
early Babylonians. However, their most popular resolution was to return
borrowed farm equipment.
- "Sorry about the tractor. I meant to return it sooner."
- Now...there's a resolution I could keep. It sure sounds
a lot easier than losing weight or quitting smoking. As I've said, some
things just shouldn't be tampered with.
- So....as 2005 looms on the horizon, and "what are
you doing new years?" plays on your radio........what are your plans?
Are you going to eat, drink and be merry with most of the populace or are
you going to have a more introspective relationship with the new birth
- For me, the choice is obvious. I cannot look at the current
world situation apart from myself. I cannot resolve merely to hope for
a better tomorrow for myself and my loved ones.
- The New Year whispers promises of new beginnings. I resolve
to extend my boundaries beyond personal comfort into a world that is suffering;
a world that is in dire need of rebirth. I invite you to join me. Perhaps
we can make a real difference in the year 2005.
- Happy New Year.
- Copyright 2004 Judy Andreas