Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Day’

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is resolutions.

My Northern California cabin fever is quite ready for a distraction when this holiday season rolls around. Still, it does seem odd that a New Year would be officially scheduled in the dead of winter, when newness of any sort seems impossibly far away.

Did you know that before the adoption of the current Gregorian Calendar, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25th in most European towns? In some areas of France during those Middle Ages, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1st. Beginning a new year in Spring, celebrating a fresh start along with little green plants, budding trees and baby animals feels so much more in tune with the cycles of Nature. Do we owe this disparity to the Industrial Revolution? Whatever the new calendar’s purpose, it does look like a lot like humans messing with yet one more thing that already worked perfectly.

On the other hand, anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia knows that in the middle of the longest and darkest night, great suffering is sometimes followed by great insight…prompting new directions and the most heart-felt of resolutions. Conventional astrology’s description of the New Moon (dark) phase sounds very much like this: a time for endings followed by new beginnings. Perhaps our current New Year’s date is more akin to this phase of introspection and renewal…setting the stage for a rebirth of activities when Mother Nature’s green Spring finally arrives. (At least, here in the Northern Hemisphere…)

Whatever your personal and social cycles are at this time of the year, I wish you all the ever-increasing ability to find the peace and beauty inherent in every moment. May you find both in abundance in 2011.

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light” (Theodore Roethke)

“Dreaming” (watercolor, pen & ink, pastel, gesso)

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c. 2005 Susan Sorrell Hill

Yes… it really could be New Year’s Day!

Although there are numerous theories for the origin of April Fool’s Day, my personal favorite is the one which says that before the adoption of the Gregorian (modern) calendar, April 1st marked the beginning of the new year. Those who still celebrated on this day (according to the previous Julian calendar) were unkindly referred to as ‘April Fools.’ Humans and their traditions were much more nature-oriented back then… and indeed, it does seem more natural that a new year would officially ‘begin’ in Spring. But then, maybe we all need a reason to celebrate and look forward while still in the grips of a dark, cold and long winter…

(I myself am the lucky recipient of an April Fool’s Day birthday and therefore am entitled to celebrate the New Year twice as joyfully.)

“Leap” (oil on canvas)

Don’t forget to celebrate April Fool’s Day in your own unique fashion!

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