This December 31st, you will undoubtedly celebrate the New Year. And yet, there is nothing new about this celebration. First records of it bring us back in history a long way…
The time is 2000 BCE. The month is March. The first moon after the vernal (Spring) equinox is cause for an 11-day celebration. New crops can be planted.
Throughout history, civilizations have developed increasingly sophisticated calendars. In these cycles of the year, the New Year was almost always marked by an astronomical and/or agricultural event.
Our New Year’s celebration on the first of January is thanks to Julius Ceasar. Originally, the Roman calendar was 304 days long, about 10 months. Eventually, the year fell out of sync with the cycles of the sun. So, after consulting his most prominent astronomer, Julius Ceasar created the Julian calendar, which looks a lot like the Gregorian calendar used in many places in the world today.
New Year, new beginning, new possibilities for change… Will you make New Year’s resolutions? One of the most prominent New Year’s traditions, making resolutions, allows us to consciously express new orientation for our future. It’s a chance to accomplish goals that we may have put on the backburner in previous years.
While New Years may be a propitious time to be particularly aware of new beginnings and new possibilities, we are constantly changing and renewing ourselves every single day of the year. On a physical level, our bodies are constantly renewing and regenerating themselves. Your skin, for example, regenerates itself approximately every 27 days.
New Years is a wonderful time to be particularly deliberate about how you want to renew and regenerate yourself on both a physical and emotional level. There are many ways to be deliberate about how you feel, both physically and non-physically. One of the most basic ways is through food. Indeed, food nourishes us on many levels. In order to participate in the world the way you want to, in order to carry out your passion, whatever that may be, feeling as good as you can in your own body can make a big difference. And this starts from within. What you put in your body, what you eat, will make a big difference in how you feel. So seize the New Year’s moment to reflect on your eating habits. Be deliberate about it, whether that means being vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, flexitarian or other. You can reflect not only on what you eat but how, when, where and with whom you eat. Is it time for a change?
You can look to other peoples and places for inspiration since food is a constant in every form of celebration across time, space and cultural differences. In some Hispanic countries, for example, people traditionally eat a dozen grapes to symbolizing hope for the next 12 months. In some countries, people make dishes with legumes, that are thought to look like coins, symbolizing the hope of future financial successes. In Italy, people tend to make a lot of lentil dishes and in the southern United States, people tend to make black-eyed peas. In many places, such as the Netherlands or Mexico, people enjoy eating ring-shaped pastries and cakes; the year has come full circle.
We’ve looked a bit at the past and thought a bit about the future in this article. So the time is now to work on your New Year’s food traditions and resolutions for 2019. Bear in mind that these inspirations can go beyond yourself. So feel free to consciously bring in the new on the collective as well as the individual levels.
What are some of your New Year’s food traditions and resolutions this year?
Lisa Darmet is a freelance writer, whose passions include, not only eating, but also food and cooking and their connections to health, culture and society. She is a graduate of Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, USA with a specialty in “Cultivating Resiliency and Food Justice Through Community”. She is truly a citizen of the world and continues to explore cultures through world travel.