Happy New Year
Now that Christmas has passed, or the 1st half of the holidays (Holy Days?), the phrase "Happy New Year" will be on all our tongues. No more Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, or for you Seinfeld fans out there, Joyous Festivus. It will just be day to day life once again, what, with the dearth of cheery, and obnoxious carols, ditties, written to evoke a feeling of a season, as well as guilting folks into a false celebration of the birth a couple thousand years ago, which in all likelihood did not occur in December. Before the hate mail starts, I believe the birth occurred, but not on the date we celebrate. This, in a way, erases much of the authenticity of the event celebrated, in my opinion. Or does it? for me, the uttering of Happy New Year sort of puts the "season" behind us, what with all it's false (and some genuine) "good will for all man kind" nonsense.
New year's eve and day are more honest holidays, plain and simple, which I'll get to is just a moment, but in the mean time, Happy New Year!
What do we celebrate?
In two words, we celebrate Corporate Earnings above all else during the Christmas Season. Dlo I sound like a cynic? Well, I am to an extent, but I am also a realist.
The red and white garb Santa wears? Straight from a Coca Cola advertising campaign, Note that he wears the company colors?
See ad here.
The Macy's Christmas Parade, sponsored by Macy's, a large corporate department store.
We end Thanksgiving being thankful for what we have, just to rampage the shopping malls (and Walmart) the next day, on Black Friday just to buy MORE things for Christmas. Or the Holiday Season, whatever. Do you know why it's called Black Friday? That traditionally the day of the year that businesses finally turn a profit for the year, going from the "red ink" (debt) to Black Ink (profit).
The are a gazillion more examples, Hallmark cards, Christmas specials on the boob-tube, yadda yadda, ad nauseam, so suffice it to say, the whole shebang stinks to high heaven of corporate manipulation. We are the puppets. Black Friday and the day after Christmas (boxing day) are the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What should we celebrate?
Well, that's an open ended question, now isn't it? There are so many people I know who have varying belief systems. There are Christians with Christmas, as well as every other religion out there with their own thing. Pagans with their solstice, (amazing how many Wiccans I know who go on an on about what they want for Christmas) and every other worship system that I can't tell a Christian, or anyone else what they ought to do for the season, however one over-riding theme of "the season" is brotherly love, Kindness, joy, and kinship with all mankind. That can stick.
However, I have seen, in every holiday season of my life, that this just isn't so. It doesn't happen.
See that man fighting with another over that parking space? Those ladies slugging it out over the game console? The frowning person over there, sad because they "didn't get what they wanted?" The Prius driver with the "Joy Sticker on the back window angrily cutting off other drivers? No, this is not what it's about, that I can say.
A take on New Years
Lyric for an awful lot of my thought processes, Written or sung, truth is truth. This from an old Styx song named "Man in the Wilderness" comes to mind:
Another year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I've spent in search of myself
And I'm still in the dark...
Do you examine your past year(s)?
Well, you do? Or do you simply try to drown it away with a lot of alcohol? Or, maybe, you simply don't think about it? Hey, New Year's really IS just another excuse to drink too much, no? Well, no.
I believe New Year's is a much more honest and authentic holiday than Christmas is, None of that "Oh, what am I going to get" stuff. No pretending that one has been good all year long, or at all, for that matter. Mope, just grab a bottle or two of bubble, or whatever your particular poison is, and drink until you are buzzed. Or hammered. No sweating if someone is going to like what you got them. No wrapping anything, hiding it behind some weird printed paper held together by tape.
And best of all, you're saying goodbye to the prior year, be it a gone one or bad, no matter. You are welcoming in a whole new year, usually with optimism for the coming year, even if said high hopes are ill founded. See, here's the beauty: You won't really know that is has been a crappy year for another year!
Do you really mean it when you say Merry Christmas?
Probably not. The person you're saying it to might be an atheist. Or of some other religion. For YOU it may mean something, but to another it may not. However, nearly everyone celebrates New Year's Day.
Let me narrow down this whole entry a bit. I have seen more anti-social, nasty behavior this last holiday season than I can recall seeing in any other two put together. Clearly the meaning is lost on a good many people.
I remember, growing up, a comic strip in the Sunday papers, Rick O'Shay. the Christmas strip was usually like the one below. The cowboy rides out of town in the snow, the people are celebrating in various ways as he rides out alone, cold. He gets a ways out of town beneath the beautiful, starry sky, stops and says only, "Happy Birthday, Boss."
That has struck with me my whole life.
That is the menacing of Christmas.
The meaning of the New Year?
Hope. Hope which ought to be hope eternal, that hope for a renewed bowl of optimism, even if it is started of in an inebriated state. Oh, and marking the time and passage of our lives.
So Happy New Year, all of you, hope to see you on the other side!