Although it marks the start of the earth’s new orbit around the sun, New Year’s Day can be any day. People in different parts of the world have historically considered various days to be the starting point of the orbit. January 1 is merely the most successful among several candidates for the global start line.
Even in the days when each country marked the New Year independently, the celebrations had the same noble characteristics. People only did good things. They wouldn’t lie. Some wouldn’t curse. Many shared. The helped the needy. They made merit. Everyone smiled with sincerity.
Those great qualities, activities and attitudes used to be spread throughout the year, as nations had different ideas on the starting point of the earth’s journey around the sun. When January 1 was universally agreed upon, many traditional New Year’s celebrations were maintained, though minus the vigour of ancient times.
Simply put, most of us now cram our good deeds into a short space of time around January 1. Of course, this is not to claim that bad deeds dominate for the rest of the year. This is to suggest that there are things we could be doing all year long, not just at New Year. In other words, the festive season should be a time for drinking, partying and gift-giving whereas the sharing and compassion shouldn’t be just seasonal.
Our New Year activities prove beyond doubt that we can be noble. Business might take advantage of the occasion to reap profits, but people in general will take the time to give or to share, and they tend to be more understanding and forgiving. The period brings out the best in us, but it also presents a challenge that many may not notice.
We see glimpses of who we can be during the New Year. So, the challenge is to remain the person we are during the festive period for as long as possible. Some say people “wear masks” during the New Year, only to return to who they really are as the year gets old. That is true, but it doesn’t mean it has to stay true.
There are the bosses who only come down to earth during the New Year. The old logic dictates that someone who is too friendly or accommodating can’t be a good manager. The new-age question that we need to ask ourselves is simply “Why not?”
Some people leave generous tips during this time. There is nothing wrong with that, but why can’t they do the same at other times? And come to think of it, why are New Year’s resolutions necessary? It’s understandable that people need a starting point in order to “get set”, so committing oneself to certain behaviour at the year’s beginning makes sense. But since all New Year’s resolutions are for positive changes, why can’t they be made any time? Why do some people wait until January 1 to say to themselves, “I’m going to spend more time with my family this year”?
New Year is the time to celebrate the only thing that is truly new – us. This is an old world and its new orbit starts ageing immediately after it begins. What is constantly and genuinely “new” is each and every one of us. Every second places us at a “new” location in the universe. Everything we read, learn, watch and experience means nobody can really be the same person we were years, months or even seconds earlier. This is a fact, even though we may like to argue that nothing has changed about ourselves over the past year.
We are continuously the newest cosmic alchemy, so to speak. The question, therefore, is what we should do with that special status when the new year arrives. We can opt for the same old way – being nice for a few days and then going back to being less nice for the rest of the year. Or we can choose to extend the “nice” streak a bit longer and make the rather abstract annual celebrations really count.
Maybe this explains that curious longing many of us experience three or four weeks into the new year. Perhaps we don’t miss the partying and fun as much as we do the real qualities of ourselves and of others.
Published : December 27, 2016
By : Tulsathit Taptim The Nation