I’m in a writers’ discussion group and just before Christmas debated ‘New Year’ – why is it January 1st and so close to Christmas? Of course the discussion covered calendars, traditions, history, political and religious viewpoints, then it started getting interesting.
I came to the conclusion that I’d like New Year to be set at 22nd December, after the Winter Solstice: We’re heading back towards summer and within a few weeks the days will start getting noticeably longer with more [hopefully] life-giving sun rays. It makes sense because, I’ve read, our pagan ancestors would be awaiting the return of the sun to grow the new season’s crops, so feasting at partying at year end is a tradition anyway in order to make it through the lean winter months when not much food grows and there’s not much else to do during long winter evenings.
With New Year goes the tradition of making a resolution (or two).
I cannot think of a worse date to set out towards a goal. There is far too much pressure; there is always the joke about annual gym memberships starting in January rarely exceeding the third week, or thereabouts. And anyway, when do you actually start? The Christmas season doesn’t officially finish until 12th Night (6th January) and some people still have ‘left-overs’ lurking in the fridge, or the odd box of chocolates hanging around – so, for example, you can’t start a diet then – it would be wasteful. Another instance; if you want to give up smoking… do you start at midnight when you’re still at your New Year’s eve party?
I suggest we choose any date and hour we like, or deem suitable, for starting out towards a goal, which is what a New Year resolution is. Perhaps the most sensible time to start is when we first think of the goal … right now.