Fresh start in a new year |

Fresh start in a new year

by JoEtta Brown

Another year has simply disappeared, as if in a flash and a moment, rather than days and months. All that was not accomplished in 2005 will probably appear on my New Year’s resolution list of things to do in 2006. Funny, the list for 2005 has not received the check marks it deserves. A list is easy to file away and forget, particularly one created to make personal changes or any changes for that matter. Oh well, I can resolve to do better in 2006.

A number of tragedies occurred in 2005 – hurricanes in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. A record number of floods and other natural disasters happened around the world. Many families are without proper food, shelter or even clothing. As I celebrate the new year, I will not only keep those in need, in my thoughts and prayers, I will work to find ways to help. The best Christmas present I received this year was a donation in our name to Habitat for Humanity. The gift will help to rebuild homes for the Katrina victims.

Welcoming the new year is one of the oldest and gayest customs celebrated the world over. In many places people stay up late to watch the old year go out and the new year come in. Almost everywhere in the world church bells ring, horns toot, whistles blow, sirens shriek. London’s Trafalgar Square and New York City’s Times Square swarm with crowds of happy, noisy people.

Closer to home, Reno-Tahoe New Year’s Eve events Dec. 31 will be held in various area casinos offering parties with music, food, drink and party favors. Several ski areas also plan parades, fireworks and music. More information is available by calling (800) FOR-RENO or (530) 544-5050 for Tahoe.

The Chinese New Year for 2005, was the year of the cock (or male rooster). And 2006 will be the year of the dog, and could be a year of loyalty and honesty, all traits of man’s best friend. Each Chinese year has its own particular animal symbol whose roots of meaning, origin and influence date back to ancient India and China. As we watch the new dog year chase away the cock, let’s hope the new year will be better for everyone.

Other traditions around the world include paying all debts before the end of the old year. New clothes, gift exchanges and money are part of many celebrations. Homes are decorated with pine branches and bamboo, symbols for a long life. The custom of thoroughly cleaning the entire house is supposed to bring good luck. It’s not too late to get the broom and dust pan. Throw away all those items on the back shelf that you keep saying you will use, but never do.

Let’s not forget the traditional Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl. This is probably when everyone will eat the foods that are supposed to also bring good luck for the new year. Cabbage is supposed to be a good luck food, considered to be a sign of prosperity. Southerner’s could eat some, if not all of these traditional good luck foods: Black-eyed peas, ham and cornbread. Many of us may have already toasted the new year with champagne. And as we watch the bowl games there is always the old American stand-by, hot dogs and beer.

Whatever we do to celebrate the new year with family and friends, may it be safe and joyful. I return to my thoughts about my New Year’s resolutions and the passing of time.

“Time heals all griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same persons.” – Blaise Pascal

Happy New Year!