As holidays go, New Year's Eve and New Year's day (siblings that always travel together) are two of the most interesting.
Technically, it is nothing more than an artificial date, created as part of a calendar, which is man's attempt at regulating and tracking the passage of time. There are more than 40 calendars in use around the world. The calendar we use, the Gregorian, was devised and implemented by the Roman Catholic Church, primarily as a means of figuring out when Easter should be celebrated. All of the other dates were simply extensions of the need to track certain events and happenings.
Native Americans didn't think in terms of someone being 50 years old. They might have celebrated 50 winters or 50 harvests; but, that didn't correlate into the designation of an actual time frame, just 50 repeated events.
And yet, all civilizations, regardless of which calendar they observe, have one thing in common... they celebrate the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The new year, if you will.
There is something that stirs the soul in observing that our big blue marble has made it through yet another rotation about the sun. Since calendars operate on artificial time, it doesn't even matter when you celebrate and observe this passage. If you want to think of July 1st as the beginning of your year, or the summer solstice, or the vernal equinox.... it doesn't really matter.
All civilizations made the observation that, over a period of time, the earth had cycles that would repeat themselves. The moon would go through its phases. The sun would rise and set. And, the seasons would change. Over and over.
So, we celebrate the passing of one year and the arrival of the new. We have traditions for New Year's Eve, and for New Year's day. Like our ancestors, there are rituals to be repeated to insure that the coming year is healthy and prosperous. We eat our cabbage and black-eyed peas. We observe the first hours of the day to determine the weather for the entire year. Or, we simply stay in bed until noon nursing our aches from the night before.
In my life, New Year's Eve is the ultimate couples holiday. You share the passage of time with the one person whom you most want to share your passage with through life. Of course, for those of us who are single, it can be a bit complicated trying to figure out who to spend those last special hours with, and who will be the one kissed at midnight.
So, in lieu of romance, I gladly resign myself to friendships and family members. I wallow in the warmth of those special relationships and celebrate having shared another year with the people that I love. I anticipate the possibilities of the coming year, and send up prayers for health, happiness and prosperity for all of them.
And, I send up prayers and petitions for all of you, my friends, neighbors and family who are in Mason, have a connection to Mason, or who just happen to care what happens here. On the first day of the year, I find my heart is filled with hope and love for all, and I want nothing more than to pour out those feelings upon the people who help make my life more complete.
So I end the year, and begin it, with the same greeting! Happy New Year!
It’s all just my opinion.