Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year Celebrations

It's that time of the year when once again we get ready to shout: "Happy New Year!", hug our dear ones and pray that the year to come will bring us fulfillment, peace and prosperity. What is it that makes that date so important in our culture?

I guess it is that feeling of "turning the page", a "new beginning", a "fresh start", a hope for the future. For me it is also a time to look back and see what were the lessons learnt, the accomplished feats and joyous occasions that the previous year had to offer.

Different traditions have a similar celebration in other times of the year but all having that same special meaning. There is, of course the well-known Chinese New Year, but that one I am not too familiar with. What I have experienced was the Indian New Year celebration, which happens in the Diwali Festival time, and goes according to the moon calendar, so every year it happens in a different day.

We had a chance to be a part of it this time when we went to India. They have fire crackers going on the whole day, not just in the evening. It does get quite noisy but the children love it. To my surprise Toby was not scared at all. He actually laughed every time the "bombs" would go off, (though I literally felt like I was in a war zone...). In New Year's Day, everybody is seen in the streets wearing their very best new clothes. That is quite important, they make it a point to be wearing something new, unused. Which brings us back to that same idea of "starting the year fresh, with no blemishes". That is also a day when they go out to visit the relatives, friends, neighbors wishing a happy New Year. It was indeed a great experience.

Well, in a different part of the world, where I am from, everyone is eagerly awaiting for the 31st. In Brazil (aka, Party Land) it doesn't take much to turn a small thing into a huge occasion. So you can imagine what a great deal of effort, time and money is spent on making the changing of calendars a memorable event. My hometown happens to be Rio which, I am proud to say, hosts one of the most beautiful New Year celebrations in the world, at the beach with live music shows and fireworks.

However extraordinary this celebration has become, I feel much of it is based on the exterior looks, and the "impressing others factor". Whereas I like to make this more of a quiet event, with meaningful and productive introspection, very close to my dear ones, wishing them a wonderful year ahead!

Happy New Year everyone!

See you in 2013!

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