Each new year opens with a sense of optimism. "This year, everything will go right." What this involves is different for everyone, but we all want happiness and security. New year celebrations go back to Roman times when this day and month was dedicated to Janus, the god of doors and beginnings. Janus had two faces on opposite sides of his head, looking forward and backward. Thus another one of our celebrations has its beginnings in pagan traditions.
|An as of Janus (Roman coin).|
The January 1st date became New Year's Day when the Gregorian calendar was adopted. Cultures that use other calendars still celebrate the new year, the most famous of which is probably Chinese New Year. Hindu new year is in mid-April. Nowruz celebrates both the new year and the beginning of spring, and has been observed for over 3,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, Crimea, and other areas where ancestors were Zoroastrian. The Islamic new year is moveable since their calendar is lunar.
|Half Sīn, the traditional table setting of Nowruz.|
A significant part of the Western new year celebration is the making of resolutions - a commitment to a goal, often the changing of a habit. A resolution stands out from other goals made because of the new beginnings aspect of the new year, thus a resolution may mark a change in a new direction.
A recent study showed that while 52% of the participants expected success in keeping their resolutions, only 12% actually did. It is suggested that goals be made in baby steps - say one pound a week instead of 20 pounds total if one is working on weight loss. Getting support from family and friends help, although making your goals public can backfire if people, intentionally or not, try to undermine you.
However you celebrate, whether you make resolutions or not, may the new year bring you positive things, and all changes be for the best!
Unless otherwise noted, images courtesy of Wikipedia.