Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year?

I may be mistaken, but it seems only twelve months ago that it was last a new year. And the older I get, the more I wonder what there is to celebrate about a new year, which is, after all, just a simple change from the end of one month to the start of another. Apparently, around two million turned out to watch the fireworks in Sydney, Australia, whilst a rather more select 250,000 attended the London pyrotechnics. I, as always, watched from the comfort of my living room. With a cup of tea and a biscuit.

What is it about the turn of the year that obsesses us, both individually and collectively? TV stations and the printed news media give us their Reviews of the Year, often focusing on a list of those luminaries who died. Magazines tell us how to be A New You, offering tips on resolutions, diets, giving up smoking and the like. All of which beg the question...if you want to turn your life around, why wait for some arbitrary date to do it? If it's October and you're thinking of packing up smoking, why wait until January? If for no other reason, it'd save you a bit of money. If you have a twenty-a-day habit, stopping smoking in October could see you saving around five hundred pounds.

I've decided that, if I do have to celebrate the new year, I'm going to do it on the 25th of March. At the risk of being a bore, I've previously mentioned that, until 1751, the new year started on that date, otherwise known as Lady Day. Falling as it does exactly nine months before Christmas Day, it's the day when the Archangel Gabriel is said to have informed the Virgin Mary that she was to bear Jesus. And this year (or next year, to be pedantic), it falls on the Sunday when the clock is advanced by one hour, giving us 12 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds of daylight during which to celebrate. Contrast this with the measly 8 hours, 1 minute and 47 seconds vouchsafed to us on the first of January.

Dare to be different. This March the 25th, wish all your friends and neighbours a Happy New Year. And rather than giving something up, take something up. Clear your clutter. Construct model aircraft from kits. Learn Anglo Saxon. Or even start morris dancing...

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