Niagara Gazette

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January 1, 2013

BRADBERRY: Should old acquaintance be forgot, or not?

Niagara Gazette —

Wow, was 2012 a tough year or what?

I’m glad to see it go; so many tragedies, so much pain for so many; too much, way too much to bear for way too many, and, say some, this year could be even worse, though it’s hard to imagine how. I hope it will be better.

Of course, there were good things last year too, some great things. Beautiful babies were born, couples got married or happily got divorced, there were inventions, discoveries, reunions; a few people made a lot of money, and a few discovered that money, power and fame really aren’t worth much without good health.

Regardless of how Father Time may have treated you in particular last year, whether 2012 was a good year or bad, one thing is likely; you probably kicked off last year, and this one with any number of traditions, some so old that nobody is quite sure where they came from.

The tradition of celebrating the arrival of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays, likely first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago and is still wildly celebrated though differently, all over the world, our only planetary holiday.

According to some who have studied ancient history, somewhere around 2000 BC or so, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon, or the first visible crescent after the Vernal Equinox otherwise known as the first day of spring.

Logically, the beginning of spring, the season of rebirth, and the planting new crops is a natural time to start a new year, not January 1, which is completely arbitrary, having neither astronomical nor agricultural significance whatsoever, but we celebrate it anyway; why?

Well, it’s a long story beginning, they say, with the Babylonians, the original party hounds; they apparently celebrated the New Year big time.

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