Happy New Year, but change can happen any day of the year
The New Year has come to symbolise new beginnings, to say good bye to the old, experiences that have caused internal distress in some way shape or form and hope that new positive experiences are on the way for us. We create goals, we have new aspirations for the new year ahead, some are successful and some are not, but it got me curious as to the origins of the new year.
People have been pledging to change their ways in the new year – whether by getting into shape, quitting a bad habit or learning a skill for an estimated 4000 years now. The tradition is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favour of the gods to start the year off on the right foot.
Throughout the course of time, New Year’s Day has actually been on different days depending on what civilisations used to believe and the calendars they created and lived by. Egyptians celebrated New Year with the annual flooding of the Nile, and the Chinese New Year occurred with the second new mood after the winter Solstice.
The original calendar in ancient Rome consisted of 10 months, with each new year beginning at the vernal equinox (March), however over centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the Sun. In 46 B.C Julius Caesar, with consultation with astronomers and mathematicians introduced the Julian calendar which established two extra months, including what we now know to be January. January 1st become the first day of the year, partly to honour Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, who’s two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future.
Well, there was more toing and frowning. Medieval Europe, Christian leaders replaced January 1st as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significant, such as December 25th, however Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1st as New Year’s Day in 1582. So, January 1st being celebrated as New Year’s Day actually disappeared for 500 years.
There is actually quite a dark side to New Year that I will not go into (but actually very important for further reading)
As interesting as I find all of this, what really struck accord was that New Year, like all holidays and events in our lives are dictated by beliefs at the time of origin. Beliefs of those that came before us, and our own beliefs carrying traditions forward. This is neither wrong or right, it just is what it is.
I don’t want to take anything away from you here, if you’ve set yourself some new goals, new aspirations, then great. I truly believe that we can all change something about ourselves,and we all have a responsibility to do so, many times change happens when we understand something new. So for those that are creating new systems to prepare new habits, starting the work to challenge unhelpful belief patterns, great. But if now is not the time for you, then now is not the time. Change can be challenging for all sorts of reasons, but know this, change is always available to you, all year round, changing your life is not trademarked to January 1st. Do something, anything that will improve your wellbeing, your life, the life of others, even if it's a fraction better, but this includes being kind to yourself, and to others.
Thank you reading,