Another New Year's Day has come and gone, hello 2010! I find the dawn of a new year to be an interesting reason to celebrate – being one of very few surviving non-religious celebrations, it is not surprising that every major culture in the world celebrates on the 31st of December, while also maintaining their traditional calendar and its particular ‘new year’ on the day historically chosen to mark the end of the old and the beginning of the new.
We, for example, have our Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration in April, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating with the rest of the world on December 31st! It just goes to show that we all have one thing in common, no matter where we come from or what our world views are – we need new beginnings – and we’ll grab as many as we can!
How one celebrates the (non-traditional) new year is highly subjective, and rightly so. Most like to cut loose, have a ball (literally) and stay out partying till the wee hours of the morning. There is no harm in this, and in fact, it might be a good idea for some of us, who don’t get to do that very often. (Moderation is the key, but that is not what I want to talk about right now!) Others like to spend it quietly with family and friends.
Some of the best family moments are spent on occasions like this, and personally, I would choose the latter over the former any day. Still others like to go to their place of worship – to start the New Year with a blessing. This can be an incredible experience, I know because I’ve done that for about the past 20 years, and it’s been amazing. At the same time, some simply go to bed on New Year’s Eve and celebrate in their dreams for the sheer joy of not having to go to work the next morning.
No matter how you celebrate it, it is interesting to see how the human race has developed the New Year celebration in such a way that the end of the old is not mourned for, or pined over. Instead the old year is put behind, filed away, and the beginning of the New Year is taken on; it is anticipated, and is ushered in with all the enthusiasm we can bear to pool together as a species. To me, this is nothing short of a classic demonstration of the half full glass. And this alone – this capacity to hope, found in every human heart – is worth celebrating.
In a few weeks I will be heading back home from a long journey, both literal and metaphorical. And as I embark on the last leg of my homeward trip, on the crest of a brand new year, I choose to be hopeful. I choose to believe there is a reason for everything, a time for every season under heaven, and that dreams do come true, no matter how bleak the horizon may appear, or how long a good thing will take to show its true colours. I choose to see my glass as being half full.
And my challenge to you is to do the same. Be hopeful this year – just because you can.