The passage of time is strange. It’s always moving, never stops, and is continual transition. Here in the United States we have two times where we think of a new year: our start of the calendar year on January 1st and the start of the educational year when school begins. However, many other new year celebrations abound!
Next winter, my students and I will celebrate the Chinese New Year as part of a unit on China. Last year we danced around our classroom with a dragon and gong! The paper lanterns the students made hung from the ceiling for months.
Another culture that has celebrated new years for millennia is the Jewish culture. Tonight begins the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, and the beginning of their 5774th calendar year. It’s a time to blow the ram’s horn, bless each other, and eat apples dipped in honey. (See http://www.chabad.org for more information.)
All these cultures are celebrating a transition from the old to the new. New year celebrations are a time to reflect, give thanks, and hope that the next year will be sweeter than the last.