News January/February 2014

New Year – Yesterday and Today

No matter the time of year, throughout the cultures New Year is seen as a time when we reflect on the past and look to the future. A time when we see what we have been up against and resolve to make changes, a time when past adversity meets present determination. It seems that this is the time through different cultures when New Year resolutions are made – firm decisions to do or not to do something.

The month January gets its name from Janus – chief among the ancient deities. This two faced god – one looking ahead, one looking behind – was honoured by the Roman celebrants of New Year who spent the day looking both backwards, in reflection, and ahead – planning the New Year. The Romans believed that what they sowed on the first day of the New Year would carry them through the rest of the year. Thus it was a day of giving presents, abstaining from impure or cruel thoughts, postponing and ending quarrels, and generally trying to be nice to each other.

February marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Traditionally this was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors, and reunion of the family.

The now deceased Murador Aborigine tribe certainly saw it this way. Present day calendars put their New Year as the 30th October. This day was a time of reconciliation and celebration of friendship, placing great importance on the past as well as the year that was coming.

It is extraordinary to realise that while historically cultures may have had no idea of each others existence, they all shared this common thread for New Year, understanding that for things to change we have to change.

Do we need to wait for New Year? Or is it more important to understand that today can be the new beginning, giving us the choice to dwell in adversity – or resolve to live with determination.

Do you believe that change can only occur on the first day of the New Year? We believe that now is the time to face adversity, and steadfastly, resolutely, make it submit to the pressure of determination for a brighter, stronger future.

‘Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.’ (G. K. Chesterton, Author, 1874 – 1936)


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