Sunday, 30 December 2012

New Years Eve

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.

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Lia Steakley Dicker give us the history of New Year's

Whether it is the glittering ball in Times Square or a giant cheese wedge in Plymouth, Wisconsin, champagne flutes clink and kisses are exchanged as countless people toast the New Year. As the wave of celebrations travel across the globe, millions vow to kick bad habits and improvement themselves in an effort to make this next year better than the last.

Revelry and resolutions have been essential to ringing in the New Year since 2000 B.C. when Babylonians held semi-annual festivals around the spring and autumn equinoxes. Back then, people marked the beginning of a New Year by paying off debts and returning borrowed goods. The practice carried over into Roman times with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to a double-faced deity named Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. When the Roman calendar was reformed, the first month of the year was renamed January in honour of Janus, establishing January 1 as the day of new beginnings.

Fast-forward a few millennia to New York City in 1907. That was the year Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of The New York Times commissioned the construction of a five-foot iron globe studded with 216 electric lamps. The one-of-a-kind ball fell from a 70-foot flagpole at midnight in Times Square on the last day of the year. With the inaugural drop an ancient ritual was transformed into a spectacular show.

Over the next century, the Times Square ball drop became a symbol of new beginnings and nearly 100 cities across the country replicated the tradition, substituting the glowing sphere for home town mascots. Each year, the celebrations grow more grandiose as represented by the dazzling 1,200-pound sphere clad in Waterford crystal with 30,000 watts of light-emitting diodes that will descend this year on Dec. 31.

The same could be said of resolutions. Once a tradition of performing simple good deeds, modern-day resolutions often involve breaking negative patterns to eat healthier, save money, or be more organised. But this type of self-change isn't easy, especially when trying to fulfil such vague goals. The difficulty of accomplishing behavioural changes combined with the non-specificity of most resolutions is the main culprit behind the rising percentage of people who fail to keep their New Year's pledge.

A University of Washington study in 1997 found 47 percent of the 100 million adult Americans who make resolutions give up on their goals after two months. This figure has grown to 80 percent in the past decade, according to recent research completed at the University of Minnesota.

While the statistics are grim, your intentions to make 2013 the best year yet aren't doomed. Experts agree that writing down resolutions, sharing goals with others, and tracking your progress, can help you achieve success. What do you want to do in 2013?

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We are full of good intentions when we write down our resolutions for the new year. But for the majority of us the thrill of accomplishing our New Year's resolutions remains elusive. We might promise to run that race, but never cross the finish line. We might aim to overcome frustration, temptation, and procrastination, but sticking to our resolutions can be hard. So what's the trick to making resolutions that stick?

When selecting resolutions for the new year, use the following tips to convert your enthusiasm for change into year-long commitment toward personal growth. Doing so will help you avoid future disappointment and launch yourself on journey of self-renewal.

Be deliberate

Resist the urge to impulsively make pledges for the upcoming year based on what's bothering you at a specific moment. Spend a week, or longer, evaluating your priorities for the new year and think about how your resolution fits with these objectives. This is a great conversation to have with a friend, "Could you see me doing this goal, this year?"

Leave the past behind

Refrain from adopting old resolutions to prevent past regrets from following you into the future. Instead, redefine failed goals. If "lose weight" didn't work last year, consider the new approaches of "eat healthier" or "exercuse five days a week"

Stay positive

Swearing off bad habits such as "I will never bite my nails again" only emphasizes the forbidden behaviour. For better results, cast resolutions in a flattering light and vow to "Take better care of my hands and nails"

Shorten the deadline

Recent research found 80 percent of people don't keep their resolution past Valentine's Day. Maintain yours until July 1 and you will have accomplished more than most. We're betting the buzz you get from successfully making reaching the six-month mark will carry you the rest of the year.

Define the obstacles

Acknowledging and preparing for the challenges upfront allows you to better navigate bumps in the road ahead.

Go public with your plans

Telling others about your goals helps you in a couple of ways. Writing the goals down and sharing them with others can increase your sense of responsibility to meet your objectives. It also gives others insight into what you are trying to accomplish and opens new doors for support.

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A little more information on the history I found at

The earliest recorded festivities in honour of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, 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. 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. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.

Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event. In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

The early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days, with each new year beginning at the vernal equinox; according to tradition, it was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. A later king, Numa Pompilius, is credited with adding the months of Januarius and Februarius. Over the centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun, and in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today.

As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honour the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth) and March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation); Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582.

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In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 31—New Year’s Eve—and continue into the early hours of January 1. Revellers often enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes-symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight. In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign that the year has come full circle, round out the feast in the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and elsewhere. In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.

Other customs that are common worldwide include watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the new year, including the ever-popular "Auld Lang Syne" in many English-speaking countries.

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To all my friends near and far, new and old I wish you all the blessings of the New Year. May your lives be filled with wonder, love, laughter, friends and family. May you find meaning, deep nurturing, 

My resolutions for the coming year are as follows:

To be present in each moment or bring myself back when I find that I am not, if I give totally of myself in each thing I do I can give no greater gift to others and myself. Through this practise I truly hear what I am being told, I speak through connection, I open by heart to both give and receive.

To sit in grace daily for a least a few minutes if that is all I have to spare, longer when I am able.

To appreciate and give gratitude for all that I have.

To sit and allow my instincts to form and be guided by them, in all that I do physical, mental and spiritual.

To continue to nurture and love myself therefore I will have more to offer others, you can not give to others what you do not have yourself. 

To express myself through my crafts creating make my soul sing.

To continue on my path of seeking knowledge and learning allowing my growth as an individual, sharing my knowledge with others.

Finally to flow with the waves of life and what it serves me, knowing in my soul that I am never alone, I am loved, all will be for my better good, even when situation are not as I would have chosen them to be. My life experience has proven to me with the distance of time looking back I have always been served well and for this I give thanks. 

Life is sacred and every single moment is precious and I think of the following when I am making plans for my day and my life.
There are so many chooses for the precious minutes of each day - so much to see, create, hear, and feel deeply in my soul.
There are so many people I have the opportunity to share each day with, they bring joy, excitement, they laugh and cry with me, and I go away feeling uplifted by having spent time with them.
I want to experience all that there is and leave no stone unturned, never wasting a moment, acknowledging that there are times when I need to be still and replenish and renew.
The world is a precious gift in which I can play and explore, I do not take this for granted and I am grateful for my abundant and lush life, each day so exciting with choices so numerous therefore I must be mindful when I make my plans.

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