Celebrations of the New Year

by Grant

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

There’s a whole new year just over the horizon – if you listen carefully, you can hear it rumbling toward us.  It brings along with it the promise of new possibilities, challenges, and changes in the world where we live.

But first, we party!!!

Man, I love this time of year.  I know I’ve said that about other seasons, but I mean it this time, too!  You know why?  Because EVERYONE is celebrating, all at the same time.  Even if your philosophy doesn’t have a holiday coming up near the end of the month, nearly everyone has been celebrating the new year for the past 4000 years (the Babylonians started it).  It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a whole-world holiday.

So, when you’re counting down the new year, remember:

  • The Russian children are awaiting ‘Father Frost’, who has the power to freeze evil-doers (and brings toys).
  • The Venezuelans are wearing yellow underwear and eating twelve grapes for luck.
  • The Colombians are burning big dolls stuffed with fireworks to destroy the bad things from the previous year.
  • Buddhists are splashing one another with water in hopes of a good rainy season.
  • Egyptians Islamics wait to see the first crecent moon.
  • Everyone is making as much noise as they can

But my favorite tradition of all – one I think we sould consider resurrecting – comes from ancient Babylon.  On the third day of their new year celebration, the king is put through the Ritual of Humiliation.  All of his powers are removed, and he his slapped by a priest, who tells him to go and pray forgiveness for his sins.  After three days, he is absolved and everyone parties for another three days.  That’s nine days.  Wow.

Have a safe and happy holiday!
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