I confess, that I am struggling to gather my thoughts about the New Year 2021.
I feel empty. As a droplet of water falling into a hallowed oak barrel, the dampness of loneliness echoes within its darkened chamber.
Yes, while I hear the rustle of the last Autumn leaves giving way to the wind of Winter buffeting outside, the harmonic sound of water droplets tick away by its aquatic metronome.
A metronome, from ancient Greek μέτρον and νέμω, is a device that produces an audible click or other sound at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute. Musicians use the device to practice playing to a regular pulse. Metronomes typically include synchronized visual motion.Wikipedia
By myth of tradition, the New Year is supposed to be optimistically happy, or cautiously optimistic, or somber. The natural phenomena of the changing season as the chill of Winter sweeps over the land, and the shortened days elicits feelings of not only wanting happiness but transcends us into depths of sadness, perhaps depression and certainly self-reflection.
The knowledge and sophistication of, do I dare say, “modern” science may distort what our ancestors believed was the way to their New Year. Likewise, it distorts what we believe to be our beliefs of the way to our New Year.
So, let us take a look at the ancient origin of the New Year:
“On the 1 st January of every year, many countries around the world celebrate the beginning of a new year. But there is nothing new about New Year’s. In fact, festivals and celebrations marking the beginning of the calendar have been around for thousands of years.
“While some festivities were simply a chance to drink and be merry, many other New Year celebrations were linked to agricultural or astronomical events. In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The Phoenicians and Persians began their new year with the spring equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice. The first day of the Chinese New Year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice”.
The Celebration of Akitu in Babylon
“The earliest recorded New Year’s festivity dates back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon, and was deeply intertwined with religion and mythology. For the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year and represented the rebirth of the natural world. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. During the Akitu, statues of the gods were paraded through the city streets, and rites were enacted to symbolize their victory over the forces of chaos. Through these rituals the Babylonians believed the world was symbolically cleansed and recreated by the gods in preparation for the new year and the return of spring.”
So here we are, in the present.
If time wasn’t so selfishly fleeting, if time didn’t leave us behind time and time again, I would at least allow credence that time has been the most reliable lover of humankind, but in fact if you want to bicker, time is as reliable as an unfaithful lover, always leaving us.
But is this a bad thing? I think not, because who wants to remain in a bad relationship. It is best to let it go.
Between the lessons of Babylon and today, perhaps we should regard the New Year as a doorway between the 12-months past and the day we enter our future.
Many people merely regard the New Year as a single-day event, amounting to let us just discard the past and leave it behind. We seemingly erase the past from our memory the second BIG BEN, the clock of London strikes 12:00 am.
“Big Ben is a tower clock known for its accuracy and for its massive hour bell. Strictly speaking, the name refers only to the bell, which weighs 15.1 tons (13.7 metric tons), but it is commonly associated with the whole clock tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament, in the London borough of Westminster.
The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world.”
Like the threshold of time itself, standing at the doorway between our past and our future; the way to the New Year is what the ancients observed through drought, famine, pestilence, war and conflict itself: Let us not forget the past, but glean lessons from it and be joyful for a happier era of a new dawn.
May I wish you a Happy New Year 2021!