Sunday, February 1, 2009
I agree with the Chinese
The Jewish and Pagan new years, falling as they do in autumn, never made sense to me. When the energy is moving inwards and downwards, and when everything is dying, when the earth grows still and cold and dark, it does not feel like a new year to me.
The Christian/secular new year makes more sense, symbolically at least. Winter solstice is a dramatic shift back towards the light, though as far as my body can tell, there's no difference between solstice and the weeks ahead in terms of cold, dark and quiet.
As a doula, I've witnessed many human births. They are not quiet, dark, cold experiences - just the opposite. There's sound and noise and lots of action, lots of heat, sweat and light, when a baby comes into this world. The Persians celebrate the new year at spring equinox, a time (at my latitude, at least) that corresponds to the bursting upwards and outwards energy of human birth.
For my money, though, I think the Chinese got this one right. Chinese New Year occurs close to the first of February, give or take a few days. Where I live, the beginning of February is a time when the lengthening daylight is at last unmistakable. Here in the midatlantic U.S., it's the time when doves begin to coo. I think they must sense the quickening of spring that's right around the corner, and are ready to get working on their messy nests.
The light is returning! Winter will not last forever! Happy New Year, ya'll!