The New Year lives a long way off
When first it gives a little cough
And modestly but proudly glowing
Says: “Well, I guess I must be going.”
– John Ridland, “The New Year’s Journey”
Happy New Year! Tonight in the US, a lot of people are probably going to try to stay up until midnight and see in 2013. And insomniacs and night owls are laughing — whaddaya mean “try”? In Australia, it’s already happened. (Think Alexander knows?) And on New Year’s Day, people might make resolutions to, say, read some excellent books…
But New Year doesn’t begin on January 1 everywhere. In Vietnam, for instance, the New Year begins between January and February. In Iran, New Year starts on March 20-21, the spring equinox.
Many people see the New Year as an opportunity to start over, and there are many ways to do this. In Ecuador, people make scarecrow characters on December 31. Then sometimes they write the scarecrow’s will — a list of mistakes from the old year. And then the scarecrow is set on fire, burning everyone’s old faults in effigy. (Just don’t tell that scarecrow.)
A lot of people start off by making resolutions. Greg, for example, might resolve not to touch the cheese. Or Waldo: I won’t get lost in a crowd. Pigeon: I will not ask to drive the bus. (But can I stay up late for New Year’s Eve, pleeease?) Curious George: I will do what the man in the yellow hat says.
What sorts of traditions do you have?