Sunday, 1 January 2017


By Kanu Augustine Oluebubechi and Ekeledo Kelechi Hart
The New Year celebrations many of us are partaking in today are over 4000 years old. It owes its origin to the ancient Babylonia in Mesopotamia.

The content of the New Year festivities has varied over time. Whereas early celebrations were more Paganistic in nature; celebrating Earth’s cycles, Christian tradition celebrates the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on New Year’s Day. Roman Catholics also often celebrate Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a feast honouring Mary.

However, in the twentieth century, the holiday grew into its own celebration and mostly separated from the common association with religion. It has become a holiday associated with nationality, relationships, and introspection rather than a religious celebration, although many people do still follow older traditions.

Interestingly,  the first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.)

The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls—the highest officials in the Roman republic—began their one-year tenure. But this new year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the New Year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the New Year.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year’s Day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire—and their American colonies— still celebrated the New Year in March.

At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

This New Years’ holiday is now often marked by fireworks, parades, burning of tires, carols and reflection upon the last year while looking ahead to the future’s possibilities. Many people celebrate New
Year’s in the company of loved ones, involving traditions meant to bring luck and success in the upcoming year. Many Cultures celebrate this happy day in their own unique way. Typically the customs and traditions of happy New Years involve celebrating with champagne and a variety of different foods. New Years marks a date of newly found happiness and a clean slate. For many celebrating New Years, it is their opportunity to learn from the prior year and make positive changes in their life, hence the idea of New Year Resolution.

New Year Resolution entails the decision of a person to change some character traits which the person subsequently sees as bad or out-rightly repulsive with strong willed determination to adopt new and better ways of life every new day of the New Year.

Today, people from all over the world that celebrate the New Year in their Mass, also observe the New Year Resolution "ritual" which to them is sacrosanct and all important. The media readily reveals this as Resolutions to stop drug or alcoholic abuse, live a simple and sincere life, help the poor and needy etc go viral over the Internet on the morning of the first day of every New Year. The electronic media; radio and television are not left out as they organize call-in programs where Listeners and Viewers share what they have resolved to do or not do in the New Year.

This in no way is a bad, what however is not good is that a lot of people hardly remain committed to their Resolution as they tend to forget or overlook it almost immediately after making such decisions. A certain young man who resolved not to make use of swear words and also never to tell a lie again was busy saying “I swear and God be my witness, in this New Year I will never use Swear words or tell a lie” (😉He just swore not to swear😕). Eventually, he received a call and told the Caller that he is driving; while in fact he was seated chatting with friends.
Unlike this young man, many more people carry on a bit for weeks or months at most before fizzling out. An unpublished survey by KamReports rightly revealed that only 2% of One Hundred and Fifty persons interviewed kept to their last year's Resolution to the later, while that of 98% consisting of One Hundred and Forty Seven respondents were like ashtray placed on the bonnet a speeding vehicle.

Reasons for the above are not far-fetched, New Year Resolutions today are merely observations of laid down procedures, statutory traditions and an urge to fulfill all righteousness. There is an absence of commitment and absolute lack of full knowledge of what is. Most people simply key into the trend of events, having grown up to see other people making New Year Resolutions.

Time has come when all who get swayed by the euphoria of New Year, it's Celebrations, Resolution rituals, Promises and Expectations understand that they need more than just "to say it" and get fully into living it spiritually and truthfully. Go beyond wanting to celebrate and make New Year Resolutions like every other person, take bolder steps into understanding that getting rid of unruly behaviours and unwholesome life styles are cardinally for your own well being. Write down your Resolutions on a newspaper sized sheet, get it pasted on your room wall. Also key them into your phone and save it as a daily reminder, if possible use it as an alarm.
Do not make it a ceremonial or an all comers affair; rather share your resolution with some persons you deeply respect and can unconditionally heed to. Such persons will serve as gatekeepers to check and chide you back to consciousness anytime you tend to stray.  Once this is established, avoid situations, people, scenarios and things that inadvertently compel you to relive your forsaken life style and make it a habit to read your resolutions each morning and night.


Finally, do not just say it because others are saying it or do it because others are doing it. Let your words and acts be guided by truth from deep within you.
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