Very soon we will be celebrating the beginning of 2018. Celebrations of the New Year have changed through the years, but most cultures have noted it in some way.
In ancient times (600 BC) in Greece the New Year was celebrated by carrying a baby around in a basket. The purpose was to honor Dionysus, the god of fertility and symbolize his annual rebirth. This is still practiced in parts of that country.
Also in Greece, in modern days children leave their shoes by the fireside on New Year’s Day, which is also the festival of Saint Basil, with the hope that Saint Basil, who was famous for his kindness, will come and fill their shoes with gifts.
The tradition of burning Mr. Old Year takes place in South America and Cuba. It seems bizarre, but they stuff a life-sized male doll with things that remind them of unhappy events during the year and then it is dressed in clothes donated by family members. At midnight, Mr. Old Year is set on fire with the belief that the bad memories or sadness associated with him will be burned away and bring in happiness in the New Year. We should note here – a male doll is used and it’s Mr. not Mrs. … I’m just sayin’.
In the U.S., other than celebrating the exact evening, nearly 50 percent of American adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions. It’s usually something they hope to change or do better in the new year. It is said those promises range from debt reduction to giving up bad habits, most commonly dealing with weight loss or to exercise more or to give up smoking.
It could be that a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one “year” and out another. They’re hard to keep sometimes, even though we have good intentions. Greg Timbaland said, “If you make a New Year’s resolution to eat a healthy diet and you keep it, you won’t actually live longer, but it will seem longer.”
Also in our country, New Year’s Eve is synonymous with the New York City Times Square celebrations and the dropping of the crystal ball. The original ball was created in 1907 and weighed only 700 pounds. It was five feet in diameter, made of iron and wood and decorated with 125, 25-watt bulbs. Well, a lot has changed since then. The famous ball has been re-designed several times, most recently in 2017. Now, it is 12 feet in diameter and made of thousands of Waterford Crystals, weighing nearly 12,000 pounds. And the ball is illuminated by 32,000 light-emitting diodes.
No matter how you celebrate New Year’s Eve in the coming of 2018, I pray it is a safe one. Here is the rest of my wish for you:
“May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your ophthalmologist, your psychiatrist, your cardiologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your gynecologist, your podiatrist, your plumber, and the Income Tax Department.
May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, and your stocks never fall, and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count, your weight, and your property assessments never increase.
May you be sensitive to the needs of others and may you create within yourself a balance of your own needs.
May you laugh at yourself and realize if you were supposed to touch your toes while exercising, the Lord would have placed them further up, and may you realize the reason so many people take up jogging is to hear heavy breathing again.
May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them.
May someone love you enough to accept and forgive your faults and be blind to your blemishes, and tell the whole world about your virtues.
May you live in a world at peace, with an awareness of the beauty of every sunset, every flower, every child’s smile, and every wonderful astonishing beat of your own heart.
Above all, may you continue to smile, may your life be filled with laughter, and may you never forget the words found in the Book of Proverbs – “A gloomy spirit rots the bones; but a merry heart is like good medicine.”
Happy New Year!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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