Another year gone and itís a new beginning of hope and anticipation! Christmas and New Year celebrations are only just over -- we bid farewell to the passing year and a grand welcome to the new year of hope and happiness! Christmas is a time of hope and a new beginning to all, irrespective of ones religion. But amidst all the celebrations, buying presents and feasting on mountains of food one should not forget why we celebrate Christmas for most people, it's the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but for some, it doesn't stretch beyond Christmas lights, the presents and of course the Turkey! New Year is celebrated on January1, according to the Gregorian calendar, but it was not always the same.
The celebration of the New Year was observed in ancient Babylon around 4000 years ago with the appearance of the first new moon, on the first day of spring season of rebirth and planting new crops. The Roman calendar was tampered many times by their emperors that it became out of synchronization with the sun, and the tampering continued till Emperor Julius Caesar established the Julian calendar, in 46 BC, and declared January 1 as the New Year. Early Catholic Church condemned the celebrations as Paganism, but later on they began to have their own celebrations at the same time as the Pagan celebrations. New Year's day is still celebrated as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision by some denominations. Other traditions include the Tournament of Roses parade and parading a baby in a basket to represent rebirth and the spirit of fertility, in Greece and in Egypt. Though early Christians considered this as Paganism, the Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the New Year with a baby, to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus!
New Year also brings an old declaration to the forefront, the New Year Resolutions, which dates back to the Babylonians most popular resolution then was to return borrowed farm tools! This is the time when people feel forced to make decisions, but mostly they are declarations rather than decisions! But if the resolutions are not taken with proper planning and a realistic attitude, they are likely to fail, which brings on a sense of inadequacy, low self-Esteem, and even depression! Therefore, it's paramount that one should not focus on ones inadequacies or negative points while contemplating to take New Year resolutions. It's also important to consider a realistic resolution that is within ones capability, for otherwise it's likely to fail -- if one decides to read the Bible from the beginning to the very end within one year, it's definitely going to fail! It is a known fact that the highest number of memberships in the gym is soon after the New Year, as Health and Fitness is right at the top of the list of New Year resolutions! The faint hearted give up after a few months, as it requires great sense of commitment and an eagerness to continue with the tasks giving up smoking is another popular resolution.
It is quite easy to feel certain amount of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown when the world around are crumbling around you, and the new technology brings the bombing, killing of innocent civilians, crashing stock markets, rising fuel prices, loss of jobs, etc., to our drawing rooms. But human beings are blessed with resilience and resourcefulness that they can adapt themselves somehow, finding different ways to cope with the situation. It's quite important not to loose ones sense of humour and rely on a good support system of friends and family in any kind of crisis. Yoga and Pranayam (Deep breathing exercise, for the uninitiated!) can improve well being by increasing the oxygen level in all systems and reducing the stress hormones.
'End of the year, and the New Year' mean different things to people -- some would say, another year gone, and one year older, but not perhaps wiser and older! The optimists among us like to think that it's the new beginning and time for rejoicing. One would hope that the latter is closer to the truth, as it's truly the dawn of hope and happiness. Let's hope for a better world with no fighting, bombing or killing of innocent civilians and children.