We wake up. We make resolutions. We start anew. New Year is indispensable for a constant mental revitalization.
"A world in white gets underway. Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” – U2
These days an entire society is repeatedly overwhelmed by the energy and relief brought by the start of a new year. Good resolutions are made and at the latest remembered the time they have been forgotten. It is a state of relief and resetting in which it appears as if the clocks have stopped. The excitement in not knowing what is going to happen is deliberating. And for a short period of time, the most of mankind is longing to escape the comfort zone of routine actions.
The celebration of what seems to be a simple change of date and time has a cultural significance that far exceeds the mere wish to do something different. It is rather rooted and arisen from the inevitable state of human existence to cope with one’s own transience. Ephemerality makes us look for meaning through constant reinvention. And this yearning for transformation and change is reflected by the cultural connotation of New Year. And even if we know that nothing will change fundamentally, the hope of alteration and rejuvenation fuels an inner engine that keeps us looking ahead. By contrast, imagine a calendar system which would simply count days. With no other change than adding another day to the pile. There would be no reoccurring date to remember past activities. Just infinite counting, no reset and starting over. Yet this would also not match the reality of our environment where seasonal shifts remind us of constant repetitions. Hence, our reoccurring calendar system matches the constant death and resurrection of life.
And despite all the dropped resolutions or continuing bad habits, the collective action of celebrating the resurrection of the new and surrendering of the old is needed more than ever. We see the untouched, the unknown, the hope and the glory. It gives a state of clearness and contemplation. So even if nothing may change on the surface, the cultural anticipation of New Year is key for a mental revitalization and helps us to get underway.