It is the end of one year and time to prepare for a new one, at least in our Western culture it is. Not every culture celebrates the coming of the new year at the same time. Here at the western edge of North America, we are happy to celebrate a new year once again in January or February depending on the Chinese lunar calendar.
But that comes later, now it is New Year’s Eve, at midnight we will change our 2016 calendars for calendars to mark off the days of 2017. Many of us will attend parties to celebrate the occasion, watch TV shows with their official countdowns or attend fireworks displays.
There are other traditions that come with the beginning of a new year. Adventurous types, or maybe ones continuing the evening’s celebrations, might take a plunge. Many places near water have a traditional Polar Bear swim. Vancouver boasts that it has one of the oldest Polar Bear Swim Clubs in the world having started the ritual of the annual dip in 1920.
For those who prefer less spectacular and more lasting changes for the new year, there are New Year’s Resolutions. People have been marking the start of a new year with resolutions since the time of the Babylonians. The promises are no longer made to gods but rather to ourselves and usually involve a change in lifestyle for the better. Have you made a resolution to stop smoking, improve your diet or increase your activity level? If so, you are following a tradition that is thousands of years old.
However you mark the changing year, I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2017.