It’s the start of a new year, and a new way of living. Between finishing the year at the day job on 21st December and starting again on 7th January, I became a part-timer, working 48 hours a fortnight instead of 72.
With such a big change, I hope to get a lot more writing done, spend more time with my dearly beloved (our 47th wedding anniversary was two days after Christmas, and he is my dearest friend), and pick up some of the hobbies I’ve loved but dropped to make room for writing.
I’ve got a stack of reading to do, too. I love reading about cultures different to my own — distant from me in time, space, or both. New Year is a case in point. We think of it as fixed at 1 January, the date of New Year’s Day in the Gregorian Calendar. Even then, it isn’t quite that straightforward, since the new financial year begins for most companies on 1 April and the new liturgical year (in the Catholic three-year cycle) begins on the first Sunday in Advent — occasionally as early as late November.
I’m a New Zealander of European descent, so I begin my New Year along with all the others in my cultural stream, on 1 January. I can also, if I wish,help some of my fellow citizens celebrate Matariki, the start of the Maori New Year, when the Pleiades first rise in mid-winter (around the middle of June here in New Zealand).
If I was Korean or Chinese, my year might start on Sollal (Korean) or Chun jie (Chinese), the beginning of the new Lunar year, in late January or early February. Mongolians, however, use the Mongolian lunar calendar, and their new year is a month later.
The Assyrian New Year is called Kha b’Nissan, and falls on 1 April. April is also the New Year for Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Cambodia.
Ethiopia and both the Jewish and Islamic tradition celebrate New Year in September.
So if you haven’t made any new year’s resolutions yet, it isn’t too late! Just pick your cultural tradition and Happy New Year!