Another year nears end! Suddenly there’s a rush for year-end stories, features welcoming the new year, pondering upon what have we lost or gained this year, what we can look forward to in 2020! We are in a self-evaluation mode (albeit for a short period), weighing and measuring our lives, suddenly aware of the fleeting time, making promises, setting goals. An annual exercise that we indulge in, not sure if we gain anything out of it though. “It’s just another day! Nothing’s going to change but the date,” many nod their head disdainfully and say. But we make a huge song and dance about New Year anyway.
There is lot of enthusiasm around New Year in every culture and tradition. In India, every region has its own New Year that falls generally around April 14th or 15th – Noboborsho in Bengal, Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab or Vishu in Kerala. India being largely an agrarian society, for most regions New Year marks the beginning of a new harvest season. Good food, new clothes, and cultural performances mark the celebrations. Festivities begin early morning as we traditionally believe a new day breaks with the dawn. The business community in Bengal opens a fresh ledger every New Year, marking the beginning of a new financial year. The old ledger is closed on the last day of the year before (Bahi Khata Visarjan). Businessmen go to the temple early morning with the new ledger to seek blessings of the divine before starting afresh.
With globalization, the English New Year has gained prominence and popularity. New Years’ eve is perhaps one of the most celebrated occasions globally. From Times Square to night clubs to our own drawing rooms people party away to usher the New Year. And the whole pressure of being with someone you love, and the midnight’s kiss. Yes, the blasted 12o’clock kiss had kept me awake, crying and red eyed on many a New Years’ eves. I cried myself into a New Year, hoping to find my ‘true love’. After all, New Years are all about hope. No matter how down in the dregs you may be, you sincerely hope and believe New Year will be better than the year gone by.
After many a New Years, the midnight kiss stopped smarting me. I can happily attend New Year dos on my own, or just watch TV or read a book into a New Year. My loved ones could be next to me or miles away, it doesn’t matter, as long as they are there for me. Personally, I prefer being at home on New Years’ eve. It’s just too much of an effort to make it to a party with so much madness around. Snuggling in the blanket and reading a book with a glass of wine is so much better!
Despite the excesses and madness, I feel pretty good about New Years. It brings along freshness, hope, a feeling that you can start over. If you look at it logically, nothing really changes. But isn’t life all about welcoming the new, embracing the change, keeping the faith and holding on to hope that tomorrow will be better!!
So, like the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, let’s bear the bittersweet burden of yet another year…