I have read the ancient Babylonians were the first to actually celebrate a New Year. The observance was essentially created to demonstrate thankfulness for the season of rebirth and to make resolutions for the future, giving people from all over the world something to break every year since.
Not everyone is aware, but there was a different calendar system used in Babylon then, as the actual New Year started with the New Moon that followed the first day of spring in March. At that time, New Year’s Eve celebrations generally occurred over several days. Each day represented a different type of festivity to pray for a new prosperous season of crops.
Today, we use the Roman calendar. But, those crazy Italians changed it almost every time a new emperor took over until it eventually no longer matched the Sun’s patterns. Ultimately, during a break from feeding slaves to wild animals, an official act of the Senate dictated January 1 would mark the birth of a New Year.
After all, the new calendar did not help the slaves very much, but it did one day turn New Year’s Eve into an awesome party Dick Clark would call his own.
Still, New Year’s Eve is not just a good excuse to drink champagne without toasting a bride; it is a great time to experience traditions like kissing your special one at midnight while affirming those previously mentioned doomed resolutions.
Eating food that symbolizes good fortune is also an important tradition. Who doesn’t want good fortune? So, like everyone else, I have my double portion of black eye peas for luck and fried cabbage for money. I can only imagine how bad my last two years could have been without the peas and cabbage. Well, I guess last January’s batch did eventually get me home.
Taking a moment to be serious, we all lost loved ones this past year and I shudder to think who will be missing this time next year. In the absence of my dear friend Jack Cook, who we lost a few months ago, I will offer a prayer for 2013.
Lord, although we never seem to understand the pain and suffering we see in the world, we do know that you are a loving God. Even though we become so focused on the bad things we are forced to witness, your kindness and mercy is evident in so many ways, we are humbled by your benevolence.
With all of our imperfections, we ask You to forgive our humanness and guide us into a future our children will be blessed to inherit. May our example to them allow friends and family to take pride in being part of our lives and find strength in knowing Your Grace.
For when the sun rises on the mountains, there’s a peace that fills my soul. In my mind, yesterday resides there, looking back and moving on. – Amen
Happy New Year East Tennessee! Allow me to introduce 2013.
Henry Piarrot is the VP of Operations for Mountain Fresh Hospitality Services in Sevierville. Please send all story recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org