The question why do we celebrate the arrival of the new year always pops up in my head this time of the year when I get quizzed about what’s my plan for the festive period. My “nothing” response is invariably met with surprise and some suspicion. Most would say to me: “you have to do something!”. No I don’t! Why would I want to pay triple of what I would normally pay to ring in the new year, or worse still, be in a very crowded and noisy bar or be out and about in the freezing cold watching fireworks? I hate fireworks! It’s not like years are far and few, they come round every twelve months! And as I get older they seem to come round faster and faster. So why all the hoo-ha?
I sought the consult of the intelligentsia on Quora but no-one has answered. I guess they are just as puzzled as me. Do we celebrate the arrival of the new year so we can make new goals and resolutions? I have stopped doing resolutions because I realized that I fail miserably like most people at keeping them. Even goals setting is a problem. How many years did “finish my book” feature on my new year goals list? Five times, that is, five long years before I achieved it!
This morning, thinking about common comments such as “I can’t wait for the new year to arrive, this year has been awful”, “next year will be better” and “Let’s start afresh in the new year”, it occurred to me that perhaps we celebrate the arrival of the new year to preserve hope. And it forces us to reflect on what we’ve achieved or not. If I hadn’t had the goal of finishing my book on my new year’s to do list for the five consecutive years it is highly probable I wouldn’t have made it. So I’m hopeful that JUST maybe those two goals that have been on my list for more years than I care to comment might be realized this year. Only next new year day will tell!
Celebration of the first day of 2014, skating on top of a frozen lake in the center of Beijing.