A few weeks ago, I was thinking about New Year Resolutions- what they mean, what my resolutions will be and wondering about others. So I asked a few bloggers, a few authors, and some other bookish friends to write about their New Year Resolutions. They happily complied!
Today, Ashley from @ Closed The Cover is talking about New Year Resolutions (and giving us a little education on New Year Resolutions in other cultures!)
New Year Resolutions by Ashley @ Closed The Cover
Every year when the holiday season arrives I find myself experiencing growing anxiety as day after day ticks by and one more X goes on the calendar. First it’s Halloween and I think to myself, “Only two more months…” Then it’s Thanksgiving and I think, “We’re getting closer!” By the time Christmas arrives my heart is all a-flutter as there is only one week to go. I always feel a little bit like an outsider because while everyone else is excited over the fat man of Christmas I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of little baby New Year!
I first started to develop an interest in the New Year holiday when I read a book about New Year traditions around the world. For example:
* Chinese New Year celebrations are based on bringing luck, health, happiness, and wealth. They clean their houses to rid them of lasts year’s bad luck before the celebrations begin. Chinese people believe that evil spirits dislike loud noises so they decorate their houses with plastic firecrackers. The loud noises are intended to frighten away evil spirits and bad luck that the spirits might bring. New clothes are worn, and visits are made to friends, neighbors, and relatives to exchange good wishes.
* Danish New Year has a very unique celebration. In Denmark it is a considered a good sign to find your door heaped with a pile of broken dishes at New Years. Old dishes are saved year around to throw them at the homes where their friends live on New Year’s Eve. Many broken dishes were a symbol that you have many friends.
* Scottish New Year celebration also begin by cleaning their houses to get rid of old spirits. They also have a tradition of the “first footer” which is said, that whoever the first person to set foot into your home on New Year’s day decided the family’s luck for the rest of the year. This was based on the belief in the magic power of beginnings.
It was a challenge to read these and not fall in love with the idea of “out with the old and in with the new.” We started to adopt a few of these traditions in the way we celebrate New Year’s. When Christmas is over and we’re prepping for New Year’s I will do a massive cleaning of my home. Remember, it cleans out bad spirits! I also go shopping to buy new clothes (thank you China for that excuse!). We also celebrate New Year’s Eve outside. I can’t remember which culture it was but somewhere always opens the windows to the home at midnight to shoo the wicked spirits away. Being outside just fills us with a sense of possibility and rebirth.
For the last 7 years we have rang in the New Year at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. It’s a big outdoor party with lots and lots of noise to scare away the evil spirits and bad luck (thanks again China!), there is usually a lot of drinking which is sure to result in at least a couple of broken glasses or bottles (and a nod to you Denmark!) but since we’re not usually at home on New Year’s Day so I haven’t figure out how to incorporate Scotland yet. We don’t typically set resolutions so it’s hard for me to say much about them. All we really do is celebrate the end of the year – the closing of another chapter – and welcome new possibilities with wide open arms.
Happy New Year! I hope you make 2014 your best year yet.