Happy New Year!

If you’re reading this after midnight—HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Badgirl
Wench Pat here, posting from on the road…

Since I’ll be traveling the last two weeks of December, I prepared this blog in advance. If I manage to reply on New Year’s Day, then you know I made it home safely!  I’m hoping the rest of the wenches will drop in for a mini-New Year’s Eve celebration and keep everyone entertained until I get home.  Or better yet, that all our readers are out having a wonderful time preparing to welcome in 2008. Martini_new_years04

Does everyone realize that January 1 as the start of the new year is an arbitrary date based on nothing except Julius Caesar’s impatience with the Roman senate’s political tendency to change the calendar to keep their seats? The Babylonians 4000 years  earlier were smart enough to start their year with the first visible crescent moon of the spring equinox, so they couldn’t misplace their dates.  Don’t know if that says something about the dangers of lead poisoning in Roman times or the overall decline of human intelligence which seems to continue even 2000 years later, when half civilization feared the millennium.

Anyway, the Babylonian festivities were probably the original pagan ceremony on which our celebrations are based today.  Theirs continued for eleven days afterward.  We seem to be spreading ours eleven days before, but then, we start our new year in winter, and that’s just all wrong.  (Or summer, for the bottom half of the world, and that’s even worse!)

Calendar
The modern day calendar—the Julian calendar—began with Julius Caesar in 46 BC when the almighty emperor let the old year drag on for 445 days so he could straighten out the mess his earlier cronies had made.  At least he had the sense to synchronize it with the sun so they didn’t wander too far astray.  And he named January after the two-faced Roman god of doors and gates, Janus.  (Gee, and I wonder who he named the hottest month of the year after?) He celebrated his first Julian new year by killing revolutionary Jews in Galilee.  The rest of pagan Rome celebrated with drunken orgies. My, how things change over the centuries.

Druidic pagans adhered to the sun calendar and continued to celebrate their new year by exchanging Druid
gifts.  So of course, the Catholic Church did its best to yank the calendar back to their way of thinking and assigned March 25 as the new year to commemorate the anuciation of Jesus—our Easter–and condemned anyone who followed the pagan celebrations with gift exchanges or “superfluous” drinking.  Looks to me like we could spend half of winter celebrating the various holidays, not a half bad idea when trapped inside by ice and snow!

Anyway, by the early medieval era, the pagan holidays were gradually usurped by the church, and  Christian Europe called March 25 the start of their year.  And then along came William the Conqueror…

Conqueror
Good old William was crowned King of England on December 25, 1066, and he wanted the calendar adjusted so his coronation fell on the day celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.  So he decreed that the commemoration of Jesus’ circumcision, January 1, Julian time, would be the start of the new year. Again. I’m amazed some of these fearless leaders didn’t declare the sun revolved around them.

Of course, men die and the church doesn’t, so the new year reverted to church custom on March 25 in later decades—until Pope Gregory in 1582 decided the Romans had got their calculations wrong and every century was losing a day.  Once again, the calendar was advanced, this time by ten days in October of 1582, and a system of leap years was instituted to prevent the  problem from arising again. Being the scientific-minded fellow he was, the pope apparently also believed the Romans had a good thing going using January 1 as the new year and the circumcision of Jesus as a great reason to persecute Jews.  Tradition! Pope_gregory

Of course, as we all know, England had a bit of a problem with the Catholic church about this time, and they declined the pope’s generous offer of a new calendar and old traditions.  England continued using the Julian calendar—until nearly two hundred years later with the Calendar Act of 1751.  On September 2, 1752, all of England went to sleep in one calendar and woke up on the European/Gregorian calendar day of September 13th.  Greece and Russia tarried a little longer, until the early twentieth century, as a matter of fact, before adopting the calendar the rest of Europe had been using for a few centuries.

Open-minded Leo that I am, I’m willing to celebrate the new year of all calendars, in any century, with any adjustment we’d like to make. I say let’s celebrate from now until Easter!

Oh, and those ancient Babylonians? They started the new year resolution thing, although their Newyearsresolution
resolutions leaned more toward the “I resolve to give Capurnicus back his plow sometime this year” type of resolution.  I like that far better than “I resolve to lose ten pounds this year.”  So maybe my new year’s resolution will be: I resolve to give back those books I borrowed from Mary Jo.  Or if I’m really daring: I resolve to turn in that book I’ve been contracted to write.

Hmm, those resolutions still require work on my part. Anyone got any better ideas?

45 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. Happy New Year!
    My goal this year is to effect a lifestyle change in my diet. I’m not going on a diet, per se, but more trying to eat healthy. Lots of veggies, lean meats, cut back on the unhealthy carbs and the sugar. My mom’s followed a modified version of this (based on the South Beach Diet), and she’s lost 18 pounds. So maybe I can succeed — I just need the stick-to-it-itiveness (is that a word?).
    Since I’m terming it a lifestyle change and not a diet or a resolution, maybe I’ll keep it up longer???
    Cheers,
    Jessica

    Reply
  2. Happy New Year!
    My goal this year is to effect a lifestyle change in my diet. I’m not going on a diet, per se, but more trying to eat healthy. Lots of veggies, lean meats, cut back on the unhealthy carbs and the sugar. My mom’s followed a modified version of this (based on the South Beach Diet), and she’s lost 18 pounds. So maybe I can succeed — I just need the stick-to-it-itiveness (is that a word?).
    Since I’m terming it a lifestyle change and not a diet or a resolution, maybe I’ll keep it up longer???
    Cheers,
    Jessica

    Reply
  3. Happy New Year!
    My goal this year is to effect a lifestyle change in my diet. I’m not going on a diet, per se, but more trying to eat healthy. Lots of veggies, lean meats, cut back on the unhealthy carbs and the sugar. My mom’s followed a modified version of this (based on the South Beach Diet), and she’s lost 18 pounds. So maybe I can succeed — I just need the stick-to-it-itiveness (is that a word?).
    Since I’m terming it a lifestyle change and not a diet or a resolution, maybe I’ll keep it up longer???
    Cheers,
    Jessica

    Reply
  4. Happy New Year!
    My goal this year is to effect a lifestyle change in my diet. I’m not going on a diet, per se, but more trying to eat healthy. Lots of veggies, lean meats, cut back on the unhealthy carbs and the sugar. My mom’s followed a modified version of this (based on the South Beach Diet), and she’s lost 18 pounds. So maybe I can succeed — I just need the stick-to-it-itiveness (is that a word?).
    Since I’m terming it a lifestyle change and not a diet or a resolution, maybe I’ll keep it up longer???
    Cheers,
    Jessica

    Reply
  5. Happy New Year!
    My goal this year is to effect a lifestyle change in my diet. I’m not going on a diet, per se, but more trying to eat healthy. Lots of veggies, lean meats, cut back on the unhealthy carbs and the sugar. My mom’s followed a modified version of this (based on the South Beach Diet), and she’s lost 18 pounds. So maybe I can succeed — I just need the stick-to-it-itiveness (is that a word?).
    Since I’m terming it a lifestyle change and not a diet or a resolution, maybe I’ll keep it up longer???
    Cheers,
    Jessica

    Reply
  6. Pat–
    How about resolving to give up New Year’s resolutions? That’s the easiest one I can think of. 🙂
    Happy New Year, and thanks for romp through the history of the holiday!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  7. Pat–
    How about resolving to give up New Year’s resolutions? That’s the easiest one I can think of. 🙂
    Happy New Year, and thanks for romp through the history of the holiday!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  8. Pat–
    How about resolving to give up New Year’s resolutions? That’s the easiest one I can think of. 🙂
    Happy New Year, and thanks for romp through the history of the holiday!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  9. Pat–
    How about resolving to give up New Year’s resolutions? That’s the easiest one I can think of. 🙂
    Happy New Year, and thanks for romp through the history of the holiday!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  10. Pat–
    How about resolving to give up New Year’s resolutions? That’s the easiest one I can think of. 🙂
    Happy New Year, and thanks for romp through the history of the holiday!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  11. Good for you, Jessica! Until I hit age 40, I could eat anything. After that, I had to quit eating one favorite food after another. But really, once you quit eating the garbage and discovering the flavors of fruits and veggies again, it’s a nice change. Start doing a little exercise every day, consciously increasing it where possible, and pounds can be lost! Except at Christmas–sigh.
    Giving up New year’s resolutions is a purely Babylonian resolution if I ever heard one. “G”

    Reply
  12. Good for you, Jessica! Until I hit age 40, I could eat anything. After that, I had to quit eating one favorite food after another. But really, once you quit eating the garbage and discovering the flavors of fruits and veggies again, it’s a nice change. Start doing a little exercise every day, consciously increasing it where possible, and pounds can be lost! Except at Christmas–sigh.
    Giving up New year’s resolutions is a purely Babylonian resolution if I ever heard one. “G”

    Reply
  13. Good for you, Jessica! Until I hit age 40, I could eat anything. After that, I had to quit eating one favorite food after another. But really, once you quit eating the garbage and discovering the flavors of fruits and veggies again, it’s a nice change. Start doing a little exercise every day, consciously increasing it where possible, and pounds can be lost! Except at Christmas–sigh.
    Giving up New year’s resolutions is a purely Babylonian resolution if I ever heard one. “G”

    Reply
  14. Good for you, Jessica! Until I hit age 40, I could eat anything. After that, I had to quit eating one favorite food after another. But really, once you quit eating the garbage and discovering the flavors of fruits and veggies again, it’s a nice change. Start doing a little exercise every day, consciously increasing it where possible, and pounds can be lost! Except at Christmas–sigh.
    Giving up New year’s resolutions is a purely Babylonian resolution if I ever heard one. “G”

    Reply
  15. Good for you, Jessica! Until I hit age 40, I could eat anything. After that, I had to quit eating one favorite food after another. But really, once you quit eating the garbage and discovering the flavors of fruits and veggies again, it’s a nice change. Start doing a little exercise every day, consciously increasing it where possible, and pounds can be lost! Except at Christmas–sigh.
    Giving up New year’s resolutions is a purely Babylonian resolution if I ever heard one. “G”

    Reply
  16. Oh yes, healthy eating is at the top of my list. Even I am sick of all the sweets.
    I hope you all have the very best of New Years! I think ’08 is going to be excellent.

    Reply
  17. Oh yes, healthy eating is at the top of my list. Even I am sick of all the sweets.
    I hope you all have the very best of New Years! I think ’08 is going to be excellent.

    Reply
  18. Oh yes, healthy eating is at the top of my list. Even I am sick of all the sweets.
    I hope you all have the very best of New Years! I think ’08 is going to be excellent.

    Reply
  19. Oh yes, healthy eating is at the top of my list. Even I am sick of all the sweets.
    I hope you all have the very best of New Years! I think ’08 is going to be excellent.

    Reply
  20. Oh yes, healthy eating is at the top of my list. Even I am sick of all the sweets.
    I hope you all have the very best of New Years! I think ’08 is going to be excellent.

    Reply
  21. Thanks, Pat, for answering some of my questions about calendars. There does seem room for a lot of just muddling through, doesn’t there.
    I guess everybody has “officially” adopted this calendar but with the Chinese and others still celebrating New Year’s Day on another day and the Russians, in some things like Christmas, I believe, still adhering somewhat to the old calendar, there’s no universal unity. But then, to some people it doesn’t really matter anyway.
    I’m glad that the calendar we use is now mostly standardized, though they still aren’t unanimous about the start of the “week”: Sunday or Monday. My engagement calendar 2007 began with Sunday. For 2008 I have one that starts with Monday like most of the previous few years.
    I’ll leave that to others to determine definitively.
    Hope you all have “a good slide” into the New Year, as the Germans say: einen guten Rutsch.

    Reply
  22. Thanks, Pat, for answering some of my questions about calendars. There does seem room for a lot of just muddling through, doesn’t there.
    I guess everybody has “officially” adopted this calendar but with the Chinese and others still celebrating New Year’s Day on another day and the Russians, in some things like Christmas, I believe, still adhering somewhat to the old calendar, there’s no universal unity. But then, to some people it doesn’t really matter anyway.
    I’m glad that the calendar we use is now mostly standardized, though they still aren’t unanimous about the start of the “week”: Sunday or Monday. My engagement calendar 2007 began with Sunday. For 2008 I have one that starts with Monday like most of the previous few years.
    I’ll leave that to others to determine definitively.
    Hope you all have “a good slide” into the New Year, as the Germans say: einen guten Rutsch.

    Reply
  23. Thanks, Pat, for answering some of my questions about calendars. There does seem room for a lot of just muddling through, doesn’t there.
    I guess everybody has “officially” adopted this calendar but with the Chinese and others still celebrating New Year’s Day on another day and the Russians, in some things like Christmas, I believe, still adhering somewhat to the old calendar, there’s no universal unity. But then, to some people it doesn’t really matter anyway.
    I’m glad that the calendar we use is now mostly standardized, though they still aren’t unanimous about the start of the “week”: Sunday or Monday. My engagement calendar 2007 began with Sunday. For 2008 I have one that starts with Monday like most of the previous few years.
    I’ll leave that to others to determine definitively.
    Hope you all have “a good slide” into the New Year, as the Germans say: einen guten Rutsch.

    Reply
  24. Thanks, Pat, for answering some of my questions about calendars. There does seem room for a lot of just muddling through, doesn’t there.
    I guess everybody has “officially” adopted this calendar but with the Chinese and others still celebrating New Year’s Day on another day and the Russians, in some things like Christmas, I believe, still adhering somewhat to the old calendar, there’s no universal unity. But then, to some people it doesn’t really matter anyway.
    I’m glad that the calendar we use is now mostly standardized, though they still aren’t unanimous about the start of the “week”: Sunday or Monday. My engagement calendar 2007 began with Sunday. For 2008 I have one that starts with Monday like most of the previous few years.
    I’ll leave that to others to determine definitively.
    Hope you all have “a good slide” into the New Year, as the Germans say: einen guten Rutsch.

    Reply
  25. Thanks, Pat, for answering some of my questions about calendars. There does seem room for a lot of just muddling through, doesn’t there.
    I guess everybody has “officially” adopted this calendar but with the Chinese and others still celebrating New Year’s Day on another day and the Russians, in some things like Christmas, I believe, still adhering somewhat to the old calendar, there’s no universal unity. But then, to some people it doesn’t really matter anyway.
    I’m glad that the calendar we use is now mostly standardized, though they still aren’t unanimous about the start of the “week”: Sunday or Monday. My engagement calendar 2007 began with Sunday. For 2008 I have one that starts with Monday like most of the previous few years.
    I’ll leave that to others to determine definitively.
    Hope you all have “a good slide” into the New Year, as the Germans say: einen guten Rutsch.

    Reply
  26. I’d been thinking about why the new year started and January 1, and thought is made sense in a way. Clearly whoever did it was suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder, and this was their way of celebrating the return of the sun (or the lengthening of the days). I know that I am more into celebrating that, then Christmas in some respects. As far as resolutions, yes, I’d love to exercise more, and eat less or better but I think it will come down to:
    I resolve to learn to say “No”, as is “No, I can’t possibly be on that committee, or secretary for that organization” as opposed to “No, I certainly wouldn’t mind being on that committee”. It’s a fine line, and I have to find it.

    Reply
  27. I’d been thinking about why the new year started and January 1, and thought is made sense in a way. Clearly whoever did it was suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder, and this was their way of celebrating the return of the sun (or the lengthening of the days). I know that I am more into celebrating that, then Christmas in some respects. As far as resolutions, yes, I’d love to exercise more, and eat less or better but I think it will come down to:
    I resolve to learn to say “No”, as is “No, I can’t possibly be on that committee, or secretary for that organization” as opposed to “No, I certainly wouldn’t mind being on that committee”. It’s a fine line, and I have to find it.

    Reply
  28. I’d been thinking about why the new year started and January 1, and thought is made sense in a way. Clearly whoever did it was suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder, and this was their way of celebrating the return of the sun (or the lengthening of the days). I know that I am more into celebrating that, then Christmas in some respects. As far as resolutions, yes, I’d love to exercise more, and eat less or better but I think it will come down to:
    I resolve to learn to say “No”, as is “No, I can’t possibly be on that committee, or secretary for that organization” as opposed to “No, I certainly wouldn’t mind being on that committee”. It’s a fine line, and I have to find it.

    Reply
  29. I’d been thinking about why the new year started and January 1, and thought is made sense in a way. Clearly whoever did it was suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder, and this was their way of celebrating the return of the sun (or the lengthening of the days). I know that I am more into celebrating that, then Christmas in some respects. As far as resolutions, yes, I’d love to exercise more, and eat less or better but I think it will come down to:
    I resolve to learn to say “No”, as is “No, I can’t possibly be on that committee, or secretary for that organization” as opposed to “No, I certainly wouldn’t mind being on that committee”. It’s a fine line, and I have to find it.

    Reply
  30. I’d been thinking about why the new year started and January 1, and thought is made sense in a way. Clearly whoever did it was suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder, and this was their way of celebrating the return of the sun (or the lengthening of the days). I know that I am more into celebrating that, then Christmas in some respects. As far as resolutions, yes, I’d love to exercise more, and eat less or better but I think it will come down to:
    I resolve to learn to say “No”, as is “No, I can’t possibly be on that committee, or secretary for that organization” as opposed to “No, I certainly wouldn’t mind being on that committee”. It’s a fine line, and I have to find it.

    Reply
  31. Oh piper, that’s a great resolution. Saying “No” makes an enormous difference in your life — and can gain you the one thing that is irreplacable: TIME. But you do have to be careful not to explain why you are saying no. As soon as you start giving reasons, people try to find ways to work around your problem, and the first thing you know you are heading up another committee, in charge of another project, and so on. And if you say No and they start pressing you for reasons, just smile politely and say, “I’m sorry, I simply can’t.”
    It took me years to figure that out. May you succeed in your quest for freedom.

    Reply
  32. Oh piper, that’s a great resolution. Saying “No” makes an enormous difference in your life — and can gain you the one thing that is irreplacable: TIME. But you do have to be careful not to explain why you are saying no. As soon as you start giving reasons, people try to find ways to work around your problem, and the first thing you know you are heading up another committee, in charge of another project, and so on. And if you say No and they start pressing you for reasons, just smile politely and say, “I’m sorry, I simply can’t.”
    It took me years to figure that out. May you succeed in your quest for freedom.

    Reply
  33. Oh piper, that’s a great resolution. Saying “No” makes an enormous difference in your life — and can gain you the one thing that is irreplacable: TIME. But you do have to be careful not to explain why you are saying no. As soon as you start giving reasons, people try to find ways to work around your problem, and the first thing you know you are heading up another committee, in charge of another project, and so on. And if you say No and they start pressing you for reasons, just smile politely and say, “I’m sorry, I simply can’t.”
    It took me years to figure that out. May you succeed in your quest for freedom.

    Reply
  34. Oh piper, that’s a great resolution. Saying “No” makes an enormous difference in your life — and can gain you the one thing that is irreplacable: TIME. But you do have to be careful not to explain why you are saying no. As soon as you start giving reasons, people try to find ways to work around your problem, and the first thing you know you are heading up another committee, in charge of another project, and so on. And if you say No and they start pressing you for reasons, just smile politely and say, “I’m sorry, I simply can’t.”
    It took me years to figure that out. May you succeed in your quest for freedom.

    Reply
  35. Oh piper, that’s a great resolution. Saying “No” makes an enormous difference in your life — and can gain you the one thing that is irreplacable: TIME. But you do have to be careful not to explain why you are saying no. As soon as you start giving reasons, people try to find ways to work around your problem, and the first thing you know you are heading up another committee, in charge of another project, and so on. And if you say No and they start pressing you for reasons, just smile politely and say, “I’m sorry, I simply can’t.”
    It took me years to figure that out. May you succeed in your quest for freedom.

    Reply
  36. Since my internet connection has been down all morning, I may resolve to find a new provider! Or shoot the old one, depending on mood.
    Excellent resolution, Piper, and Jane’s advice is excellent. I learned that one the hard way, too. And differentiating between what you really want to do, what you feel obligated to do, and what you’re coerced into doing can sometimes be tough!
    Ranurgis, I think there’s probably a book in the how’s and why’s of calendar use and misuse. “G” Just don’t let our current set of politicians figure out what the Romans did and start setting their own calendars as well as term limits!

    Reply
  37. Since my internet connection has been down all morning, I may resolve to find a new provider! Or shoot the old one, depending on mood.
    Excellent resolution, Piper, and Jane’s advice is excellent. I learned that one the hard way, too. And differentiating between what you really want to do, what you feel obligated to do, and what you’re coerced into doing can sometimes be tough!
    Ranurgis, I think there’s probably a book in the how’s and why’s of calendar use and misuse. “G” Just don’t let our current set of politicians figure out what the Romans did and start setting their own calendars as well as term limits!

    Reply
  38. Since my internet connection has been down all morning, I may resolve to find a new provider! Or shoot the old one, depending on mood.
    Excellent resolution, Piper, and Jane’s advice is excellent. I learned that one the hard way, too. And differentiating between what you really want to do, what you feel obligated to do, and what you’re coerced into doing can sometimes be tough!
    Ranurgis, I think there’s probably a book in the how’s and why’s of calendar use and misuse. “G” Just don’t let our current set of politicians figure out what the Romans did and start setting their own calendars as well as term limits!

    Reply
  39. Since my internet connection has been down all morning, I may resolve to find a new provider! Or shoot the old one, depending on mood.
    Excellent resolution, Piper, and Jane’s advice is excellent. I learned that one the hard way, too. And differentiating between what you really want to do, what you feel obligated to do, and what you’re coerced into doing can sometimes be tough!
    Ranurgis, I think there’s probably a book in the how’s and why’s of calendar use and misuse. “G” Just don’t let our current set of politicians figure out what the Romans did and start setting their own calendars as well as term limits!

    Reply
  40. Since my internet connection has been down all morning, I may resolve to find a new provider! Or shoot the old one, depending on mood.
    Excellent resolution, Piper, and Jane’s advice is excellent. I learned that one the hard way, too. And differentiating between what you really want to do, what you feel obligated to do, and what you’re coerced into doing can sometimes be tough!
    Ranurgis, I think there’s probably a book in the how’s and why’s of calendar use and misuse. “G” Just don’t let our current set of politicians figure out what the Romans did and start setting their own calendars as well as term limits!

    Reply
  41. Happy New Year Patricia!
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, it does not work for me. What I like to do is stick to my routine, walking at least 2 miles everyother day,not to eat after 6 PM which helps me keep my weight same. Last year I started yoga, best thing I did in a long time.

    Reply
  42. Happy New Year Patricia!
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, it does not work for me. What I like to do is stick to my routine, walking at least 2 miles everyother day,not to eat after 6 PM which helps me keep my weight same. Last year I started yoga, best thing I did in a long time.

    Reply
  43. Happy New Year Patricia!
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, it does not work for me. What I like to do is stick to my routine, walking at least 2 miles everyother day,not to eat after 6 PM which helps me keep my weight same. Last year I started yoga, best thing I did in a long time.

    Reply
  44. Happy New Year Patricia!
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, it does not work for me. What I like to do is stick to my routine, walking at least 2 miles everyother day,not to eat after 6 PM which helps me keep my weight same. Last year I started yoga, best thing I did in a long time.

    Reply
  45. Happy New Year Patricia!
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, it does not work for me. What I like to do is stick to my routine, walking at least 2 miles everyother day,not to eat after 6 PM which helps me keep my weight same. Last year I started yoga, best thing I did in a long time.

    Reply

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