Turning the Page on the Calendar!

SunriseAndrea here, wishing everyone a Happy 2022 as we celebrate the first day of the new year. May it bring brighter times and less upheaval and uncertainty in all our lives.

As we mark this transition from old to new, it got me to thinking about how we record the passage of time . . . which of course made me think of calendars! In most of the world, the Gregorian calendar—a refinement of the Roman Julian calendar which was adopted in 1582—is used as the standard for secular use.

WesternUnlike ancient times, where the passage of time was based on lunar cycles, the Gregorian calendar divides the year into 12 months , with a leap day added every four years to keep things in balance.

Some quick research into the history of calendars turned up some very fascinating facts!

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Happy New Year!

XmasChampagneChristina here. Today is New Year’s Eve and we should all be having a party – champagne, canapés, a huge gathering of friends and lots of fun, music, dancing and laughter. Obviously, that won’t be the case this time and I’m guessing low-key celebrations will be the order of the day instead. Personally, I don’t mind. I’ve never really liked all the hype around this one day – the older I get, the faster it seems to come around and I’d rather not think about how it signifies the rapid passing of time! I just want to spend the evening with my family, perhaps eating and drinking something special, and quietly welcoming the new year.

In Sweden, people say “Gott Slut” to each other until midnight, when this changes to “Gott Nytt År”. “Gott Slut” basically means “Happy Ending”, which has always sounded a bit morbid to me, but it is meant to be taken in a good way, wishing friends and family a happy evening and end of the old year before the new one arrives. I don’t know if any other countries have similar greetings? If you’ve heard of any, please let me know!

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New Year, New You?

XmasChampagneHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Christina here. Have you all been busy making new year’s resolutions and starting the year as you mean to go on? Me – not so much.

I think one can safely say I’m a “bah humbug” type person when it comes to new year’s resolutions. In short, I gave up on them years ago because I simply never stuck to them – not even for a week in some cases. So what was the point in making them? I just ended up spending money on expensive gym memberships I was never going to use or a bunch of vegetables I soon ditched in favour of chocolate. Willpower is difficult to summon up!

DarumaThere is one tradition I always follow at New Year though and it’s one I picked up when I lived in Japan. The Japanese celebrate New Year rather than Christmas and one of the things they do is to buy a little papier-mâché figure of Daruma. He is based on Bodhidharma, a monk who lived some time during the 5th or 6th centuries and was supposedly the founder of Zen Buddhism. These Daruma figures represent luck, perseverance, endurance, and the spirit to keep going despite setbacks – what the Japanese call ganbaru, or to do your best.

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A Happy New Year!

Word wench 20Nicola here. Farewell to 2019 and to the "twenty tens!" As we enter a new decade, the Word Wenches would like to thank you for your continued support for the blog and wish you a very Happy New Year. Together, the Wenches and our blog readers form a community that loves chatting about history, books, writing and life in general. We look forward to many more discussions in the years ahead!

A hundred years ago in 1920, the new era was greeted with excitement in The New Woman western society. In the wake of the First World War, the "Roaring Twenties" were known for a period of economic prosperity and cultural development. In London the decade was ushered in with a number of very smart black tie events as well as some less formal partying! A hundred years on we are in a very different place but who knows what this new era will bring? As long as there are new books, old favourites and friends to talk to here, we'll be good! Wishing you and your loved ones all good things for the new year and the new decade!

New Year’s Day 2017

SnowdoniaOnly a sleep from old to new

Only a sleep from night to morn

The new is but the old come true

Each sunrise sees a new year born.

By Helen Hunt Jackson

Nicola here, wishing everyone a very happy 2017! January 1st has traditionally been a time to reflect on the year that has gone and Advent calendar the opportunities, hopes and dreams for the one that lies ahead. It’s a natural human instinct to be optimistic even if sometimes the world feels like a difficult place. Perhaps positive resolutions and hope in the future helps us to deal with that uncertainty.

Ravilious calendarThe calendar is, of course, an arbitrary thing that has changed over the centuries, but it is something that gives structure to our lives and that can be helpful. I'm not a big user of calendars with two exceptions. The first is my Advent Calendar, which I get every year to mark the days from December 1st to Christmas. This year I had a gorgeous one from the National Trust. Now that we are in a new year I am about to put up my 2017 wall calendar, which is a very special one showing the paintings of Eric Ravilious, one of my favourite artists. In both cases the calendars bring emotions of positivity and excitement in me about the potential for the time ahead.

Here in the English countryside the New Year also brings the usual British preoccupation with the weather with a proverb for January 1st that dates from the 19th century:

If the wind blows from the south it will bring warmth and growth, from the east lots of summer fruit on the trees, from the west Astronomical_Clock,_Prague milk and plenty of fish in the seas, but f the wind blows from the north then it’s going to be cold and stormy all year. I’ve just checked the forecast and the wind starts off in the south west today but turns around to the north later so I expect we’re going to get a mix of everything this coming year, as usual, both weatherwise and in other ways.

Whatever the winds bring, I wish everyone a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year!