Happy New Whatever

This New Year lark has always slightly bemused me.

On a minor note, it has amused me that people go around wishing each other a "Happy New Year".  Why?  Would they normally wish them a miserable new year if they keep quiet?  Surely we would all wish a happy time to all our friends no matter what time of year, so wouldn't it make sense to wish each other a "Happy New Month" or a "Happy New Week" so the wish is nicely refreshed on a regular basis?  Maybe a "Happy New Day" greeting would become a little tedious but you get my drift?

The big question though is why the first of January?

I know in the past things were different, and apparently the new year started at various times in March or even April but the big question is what determines the first of January?  What defines the start of January?  There is nothing significant about that day.  On a cosmic scale of things, it's just another spin of the globe as it orbits the Sun and is no different from any other spin.

Now if the year started on say the Winter Solstice, that would make a lot of sense.  That day is well defined in the order of things as it can be set by simple astronomy so it would make perfect sense to mark that as the start of the calendar year?  Or equally we could choose the Summer Solstice or either of the Equinoxes.  So why chose a day that has no distinguishing features whatsoever?

The whole lark is a bit of a scam anyway.  What is the Big Deal about a new year?  It's just a change of calendar.  It's just the start of a new diary [if you’re into that sort of thing].  It's just the start of miswriting the dates on cheques, or do people write cheques any more?  Birthdays are far more significant as they define a person's age, but the year just causes confusion. 

Happy New Week everyone.

And I hope all politicians and others who would interfere in my life have a fucking miserable New Year.

 

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Comments

Happy New Whatever — 17 Comments

  1. Isn't it something to do with the calendar shifting by eleven days in 1752, or whenever it was? Wouldn't January 1st have been at the point in the solar year now occupied by 21st December? Wasn't that change how the tax year in Britain ended up finishing on 5th April instead of Lady Day? I must look it up

    • I should have asked you first – the expert in all things astrological astronomical and chronological?  That well could be it, but why the hell couldn't they stick the extra days on at the end instead of the beginning?

      • It seems that Britain observed Lady Day, 25th March, as New Year's Day until 1752 – it was the date of the equinox before the calendar slipped out of synch.

        • Very strange starting the year in the middle of a month?  That's even more confusing than the present system!  Did they have to stick March on two successive calendars?

  2. I haven't written a cheque in more than ten years. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but here in Greece cheques were like banknotes insofar as they were transferable. It was the way of getting credit in the days when credit was not normally available – writing a postdated cheque. And that cheque would sometimes pass through several hands as currency before the due date came up. And if it bounced, it was a criminal offence with quite harsh punishments. I can remember years ago getting frantic phone calls asking me not to present a cheque I was holding for another month, so the guy had a chance to get the funds into his account.

    And I hope all politicians and others who would interfere in my life have a fucking miserable New Year.

    I'll second that, GD. In fact it would be nice if they all just disappeared in a puff of smoke…

    • I do write them on very rare occasions, probably about once a year or two when someone does a big job on the Manor and charges more than cash can handle.  They were very handy as a form of currency all right but then the banks and shops started screaming about "no third party cheques" which put a damper on things.  As for bouncing cheques – my bank used to levy a fine which more often than not exceeded the value of the cheque!  Bastards.

      "In fact it would be nice if they all just disappeared in a puff of smoke"  You bring the petrol and I'll bring the match.

  3. Wishing people Happy Birthday, Happy Christmas or Happy New Year is a way of marking time. Perhaps too it is a way of spreading good cheer? We never seem to wish each other a Happy St. Patrick's Day, though it is assumed most Irish people will try to be happy then. What is happiness anyway? The American declaration of independence mentions 'the pursuit of happiness' as a natural human right, but coyly declines to define happiness. Ancient Greek philosophers tried to define the Good Life and a few other things, but I am not sure if their ruminations carry much clout in the context of the current Greek financial meltdown and troika gun pointing.

     

    Anyway here are my predictions for 2014:-

    a. Some people will be happy and others will be unhappy in 2014, depending on what is meant by the concept.

    b. Share prices will go down as well as up. The trick is for investors to know which ones in advance.

    c. There will be growth in the spring – if you planted snowdrop bulbs earlier than last November and didn't overdose the lawn with herbicide..

    d. There will be a major disaster somewhere in Africa, Asia or South America, but Old Moore's Almanack hasn't pinpointed the exact location. Them cute predictors keep their options open, like newspaper astrologists.

    e. Copies of Old Moore's Almanack will continue to sell well, and all scheduled fairs and horse sales will happen,    unless an unforeseen earthquake takes place near Ballinasloe, for instance.

    f. Fianna Fail, SF, independents and several Leftists will win seats in the 2014 local elections. A political pundit in a national newspaper will declare: I Told You So.

    g. Some writers and artists will die and President Higgins and the Taoiseach will say that they made outstanding contributions to Irish culture.

    h. On the Atlantic seaboard a rare bird will attract twitters  (people who traipse around the country to gawk at different bird species) and somebody will assert that blow-ins should go back to their countries of origin.

    i. The Middle East will be a region to keep watching. North Korea needs to be watched carefully too, especially if you edit the Skibbereen Eagle or the Wicklow People. The editor of Ireland's Own will wisely keep his nose to the peaty soils of the dear auld sod.

    j. Leitrim will definitely not win the all-Ireland football championship, and Wicklow will certainly not win the hurling championship; but the GAA will continue to thrive from ticket sales.

    k. Some of the foregoing predictions may be annulled only if the world is brought to a sudden end by gigantic meteors, world war or the Man Above.

    And a Happy New Year only to those whom it may concern.

     

    • Don't get me wrong – I'm all for spreading cheer.  I just don't see why it should be confined to specific dates.

      As for your predictions….  We will revisit this in a year's time.  😉

      • Fair dos, and if Wicklow wins the all-Ireland hurling final in 2014 I won't just eat my hat – I'll use it to flavour a homecooked scotch broth soup. Recipe to be supplied after the final.

  4. Well hell. Nobody cares about the new year, I can't top Ger's comment and nobody wants anyone to wish them a Happy New Year–so I won't. Happy New Hour then and keep well, all. (shuffles off to write his own damn New year's post)

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