New Year's is almost here and can be celebrated in many different ways
The Christmas gifts and meals are over and for gym goers itís almost time to start putting your elbows up to make way in what should be a crowded space as the new year is coming quickly. Itís also almost time to start leaving a little early to get a parking spot because January will be packed as people with their health in mind start to arrive with their resolutions.
Thereís still a few days, the calm before the storm where most gyms and health facilities are quiet. People are still visiting friends and waiting for one last hurrah before they have to start. That hurrah of course, is New Yearís Eve.
If youíre not quite ready to start with New Yearís resolutions just yet, take a page from some other countries and cultures and delay the celebrations.
Ancient cultures celebrated the new year in spring to model after nature and farming practices.
And when Jan. 1 was proclaimed the time when the new year would be marked by Julius Caeser in 46 BC. after introducing the solar-based calendar, it didnít stick forever.
In 567 AD it was switched back to spring only to be brought back to Jan. 1 in 1582 when the Gregorian calendar reform restored the January date. But while most Catholic countries adopted Jan. 1, it didnít catch on in other countries, such as Britain, until much later.
A more modern approach would be to look at current cultures.
The Chinese New Yearís is typically in February during the slower period of the farming season. Firecrackers are set off to scare away any evil spirits that may be around as well as to welcome the new year.
The younger members are to pay respect to their elders and children are given red envelopes with money.
And of course, each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese horoscopes. The 2013 year will be the year of the snake.
In Russia, some people still celebrate the Ďold calendar.í Russia didnít follow the Gregorian calendar until 1918. The old Christmas is Jan. 7 with the old new year on Jan. 13-14 so both are still recognized by some though the public holiday does fall on Jan. 1.
Celebrations are typical to what might be seen here in Canada with the celebration being noted at midnight with champagne. During the evening, people will talk about the year, talk about those who died, and drink to the health and well-being of their friends. Celebrations usually continue after midnight, with crowds of people meeting outside to dance, listen to music and watch fireworks.
There are different local traditions found in Switzerland, most interesting is the SylvesterchlaŁse in the Appenzell region. Mostly men wear fine masks and others dress as trees and they go on a type of pub crawls, accepting drinks from locals, and thereís a second feast on Jan. 13 for Saint Sylverster day.
However you celebrate, it will come and go before you know it. If youíre making plans to be with friends or family, stay safe and plan a ride home if necessary.
Happy New Year, and I look forward to continue writing your stories in the coming months.