Did You Say “Happy New Year” Yet? Why?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, by Eliane Karsaklian

new year in the worldWe are all receiving and sending messages about the New Year and wishing all the best to everyone. But does it really mean something or is it just a social convention?

First of all, we don’t all live in the same year. Years start and finish at different dates depending on the culture as we don’t have the same calendar. But there is a common convention that the New Year starts on January 1st.

In the interconnected world we live in, celebrating more than one New Year becomes natural. As we are mixing and not homogenizing our cultures, we are also mixing our respective rituals.

Japan does not celebrate Christmas, but there were Christmas trees and Christmas Carols all over Tokyo last December.  China does not celebrate Christmas either, but there is a Santa Claus in almost every shop as well as Christmas trees around the country. Some people have been even celebrating Christmas Eve. After all, a party is a party no matter what the celebration is about.

While some will argue that the Chinese are betraying their deepest values and traditions by doing that, we should also take a look at what is happening in the western side of the world. Westerners are more and more aware and involved in the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. Some would even say that this is will be great year because 20 + 15 = 8 which is a lucky number in China. They are interested in the animal representing each year and mix them with their western zodiac signs. So you can be cancer for the month you were born in and pig for the year you were born in. Is that incompatible? I don’t think so; just like cultures, we humans are made of different facets. Humans are as complex as cultures.

Now, what changes with the New Year? The most skeptical, most often westerners, will say nothing. It is just a day after another. But Asians will take it differently. A new year is a new perspective given to life according to the animal that is represented. It is a set of new expectations and of renewed hope. Is it superstition? Perhaps. But it is also what makes people move forward. It has more to do with belief than with superstition. People make things happen because they believe that they will happen. It has nothing to do with the good resolutions for the New Year that we never have enough time or memory to accomplish.

It has to do with pragmatism. We do it because we believe and we believe because we do it.

I want to share this thought with you this month. Let’s make of 2015 the year we believe we can do it and make things happen. We have 12 months to accomplish wonderful things. We just need to believe and do it.

Very Happy New Year!