What's new about the New Year - Nazneen Ali
What's new about the New Year
Everything in this universe has a beginning and an end. Be it human life which is a journey from a beginning to an end, or the rotation of the Earth on its axis which decides the beginning and end of a day, or the Earth's revolution around the sun that marks the beginning of a New Year and an end of the existing revolution cycle, the existing year. So within our bigger journey of life, we witness these smaller trips of day and night, seasons and climate, each marking a new beginning and culminating the existing one.
All these beginnings are important. Life quotes teaches us to consider each day as a new beginning and live it to the fullest. Then what’s so special about celebrating the New Year, what’s so “new” about the New Year?
Before we explore and try to find answers to these “Whats” and “Whys”, let's unveil some numerological and historical facts about the New Year. The New Year was considered to be celebrated on the First of January subsequent to the reign of Roman dictator Julius Caesar. He instituted January 1st as the beginning of the New Year, for the name January, that comes from Janus, the Roman god of beginning, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future.
Prior to this the calendar year was from March to February and so that's where December got its name from. The meaning of December roots to the Latin word with the meaning “ten”. The old Roman calendar was the starting March, thus making December the tenth month of the year. However with the change in the beginning of the New Year from March to January, December too got promoted to the twelfth month of the year and not tenth anymore. Well, is this a promotion or a demotion??
Despite being a month of festive celebrations, December’s destiny is only as the last lap to finish the current year’s race and look forward to a new year. With the start of the month of December starts the discussion about the next year. People start talking about New Year celebrations, New Year plans and resolutions and businesses start planning and budgeting for the year that is yet to come. So December is more like an exit door just meant to await the entry of the New Year.
Coming back to our question – “if life is and ongoing process then why so much hype so much discussion about the New Year?
Well, to me, this is because every journey howsoever small or big, has two important identifiers. They are – “the road map” and the “milestones”. While the road map gives us the direction in which we have to go, the milestones allow us to evaluate, judge and understand how far and how successfully we have moved towards our destination. Our life is also a similar journey of day and night year after year. So the beginning of a new year serves as a milestone to help us analyze where we have reached, so that we can revisit the roadmap of our life and revise our path in the right direction ensuring that we reach where we are destined to and capable of reaching. This destination may be different for different people. In today’s fast pace world, most of the people consider a professional growth as an achievement and as the final goal. However that is just a part of our journey. A bigger aspect and a more important and valuable angle to our existence is the value system, the humanitarian aspect of our life.
In the past few years we have seen humanity failing on various fronts. Be it human values failing during the challenging years of Corona or Russia-Ukraine war or Israel-Palestine war or other controversies. While some one would have succeeded, it’s humanity that has failed every time. So the New Year is a time and important milestone in our life where we have to take a pause and check ourselves, check our choices and understand where we are heading towards. It's a time to rebuild our value base, it's a time to do introspection, a time to show ourselves the mirror so that we can see our truth, identify the weakness in our value system and our behavior and make the necessary changes our life. This is because our life does not belong only to us but it belongs to and impact everyone around us on a smaller level and the society and the world at large.
The “new” about New Year is to bring the change in ourselves so that we are able to create a better world. The new in the New Year is about rebuilding humanitarian relationships, the new in the New Year is about respecting others, becoming a little selfless and doing justice to every role that we play in our life. The New Year is about creating a new and better world, it's about small acts of kindness, it's about being polite and humble, it's about breaking the old shackles of inappropriate behavior and evolving our new self. It's about standing for the right, it's about raising our voice for justice, it's about nothing new but being good in all old and new what we do in the New Year and the years to come.
The author is the General Secretary of the Writers’ Forum Kuwait. She has a Novel published in two languages. She is a poet and writer and a regular contributor to leading newspapers in Kuwait and India. She is a Banker by profession.