On Monday of this week, which was New Year’s Eve, many chose to celebrate the arrival of a new year by entertaining special plans or hosting an evening of fun and revelry –– a time of festivities.
Others did nothing, as the passing from 2018 to 2019 is just the passing of time –– an unremarkable event.
Today, as an adult and someone who does not like the bitter cold of winter, I now question the sanity of the revelers who stand outside in Times Square for hours just to watch a magnificently lighted ball drop, one of many symbols marking the beginning of the new year. As a young kid, I used to enjoy watching the festivities on television and think how cool it would be to stand amid the fun and witness firsthand the celebrities and entertainers. Cool, indeed.
So why do we celebrate? Why is the ending of 2018, and the beginning 2019 worthy of such notable celebration –– a special event noted throughout the world?
History espouses many different cultural events for celebrating the beginning of a new year. This rite of passage has always been recognized by many different ethnic groups, with each one expressing their regard in a unique way. Here are just a few examples –– the Greeks celebrated winter solstice on Dec. 20. The Romans recognized the new year in March based on the Julian calendar, and the Mesopotamians were noted for hosting a two-week long new year festival in conjunction with the vernal equinox in spring.
According to Live Science, most countries today recognize January 1 as the start of the new year; however, there are a few that continue to maintain their own annual formalities –– places like Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.
Religion also dictates longstanding new year traditions, which are most generally based on lunar events. These occurrences include celebrations based on the Jewish, Islamic and Chinese calendars.
The symbolism associated with celebrating a new year is varied, and for most of us, it is likely whatever we choose to make it.
The new year norm for most of us is to set goals to strive to be a better person, to work toward attaining a higher level of moral accountability. To be nicer to others. To be more generous. To help those less fortunate. Or perhaps, to lose weight and attain a higher level of health. All good resolutions worthy of attention.
The start of a new year definitely represents the passing of life, and perhaps, brings us to a much needed time for reflection. A period for reassessing and reanalyzing our personal journey.
On the other hand, for some, the new year brings a sense of relief that 2018 is over, and 2019 offers a new slate –– a new opportunity promising hope and unlimited possibilities.
For all of us, the new year means we’ve made it another 365 days –– we’ve navigated another year. And quite possibility that alone is reason to welcome the new year with joy and a festive heart.
And, to our readers, please accept our best wishes for a wonderful new year filled with happiness, joy and peace –– all wonderful reasons for celebrating New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31, 2019.