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Out With the Old, In With the New!
December 16, 2009 - Sunny Day
The time is fast approaching when 2009 will end and 2010 will begin – yes, New Year’s!
I don’t know about you, but New Year celebrations bring memories – good, not so good, but definitely nostalgic. This day is celebrated in many ways in many cultures around the world.
In countries that use the Gregorian calendar the New Year is celebrated on January 1st. The path of this celebration and the calendar through the various monarchs of Rome and the catholic church have ultimately determined the day of the new year. Therefore, this day has been marked with religious significance during the Middle Ages and that tradition has continued to this day.
As the world expanded and western culture emerged to incorporate into other countries, January 1 became the universal new year in concept – even in countries with their own new year celebrations such as India & China. Many major cities around the world spend millions on the events that take place in anticipation and culmination of this date.
One of the more familiar New Year celebrations other than our own is the Chinese New Year which is also known as the Lunar New Year. This happens every year on the new moon of the first lunar month which is four to eight weeks before Spring. Years were marked by one of twelve “Earthly Branches” represented by an animal; and one of ten “Heavenly Stems” which correspond to the five elements. This combination of branches and stems cycles every 60 years. It is the most important Chinese celebration and while we may not celebrate it, we certainly know it and many of us have observed the pagentry and excitement!
Because of “time zones” the new year moves progressively east to west around the earth as the start of the day ushers in the new year. The first time zone to welcome the new year is just west of the International Date line. When the new year is in the first time zone, the zone to the east of the International Date Line is 23 hours behind – still in the previous day! So, who is the first to usher in the New Year????
Caroline Island – an uninhabited landmass on the most eastern edge of a Pacific Ocean island nation called Kiribati!
I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to celebrating the arrival of the New Year with friends and family; of wandering back through the year gone by and remembering good times and not so good times. I want to take time to be thankful for so much in my life and in the lives of those I know.
I want to be grateful for the country in which I live – faults and all, and especially for the people who serve to keep us the greatest nation on earth! I want to miss those who have gone from this world, but will never be forgotten.I want to take a deep breath and step into this new year with confidence, fortitude, compassion and patience, having learned something from the year past and looking forward to what is to come.
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