I really like celebrating New Years, to the point where I found myself celebrating three of them every year. They are Samhain/Halloween, Yule/Christmas/Gregorian New Year, and Imbolc/Chinese New Year. Each new year feeds into the other. Samhain is really the death of the old year and a celebration of the way destruction can bring creation; it’s the New Year of Dusk. Yule is the longest night, and it’s the one I get time off for, but it’s coupled with all the cultural baggage of living in modern American society; it’s the New Year of Midnight, both the silent, dark midnight of the longest night and the loud, boisterous midnight of the Gregorian New Year.
Third New Year is probably my favorite. It’s the New Year of the Dawn, falling as it does in the earliest reaches of spring. You wouldn’t know it in some parts of the country, but it was a beautiful, clear morning in Portland today when we went down to the UU Church. It really does feel like the earliest touch of spring, the reminder that light and warmth will return, and this is the first place I’ve lived where Imbolc has ever had that feeling to it.
It helps that I also celebrate my birthday in here as well, which feels like my own “fresh start” every year.
The Chinese Garden is celebrating for a full two weeks starting today with lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, lantern viewings, and all sorts of things. It’s just a fun holiday for me, and that’s why it’s my favorite new year. Now the year is truly begun, which makes sense to me – there are a lot of things that have been “on hold” that seem to be making progress again for the first time in months.
It’s exciting. I’m excited. Happy new year to you, too!