Nicola here. It’s New Year’s Eve here in the UK, with fireworks, celebrations and all the traditions that go with the ending of one year and the start of the new. One of my favourite new year'e eve traditions was celebrated by my grandmother for many years – She would open the windows at the front and back of the house to invite good luck in and the front and let bad luck out at the back! However this might just have had the practical intention of airing the house after all the smells of Christmas cooking!
It may be the end of December, but in an older tradition it’s only the seventh day of the “twelvetide,” the 12 days of Christmas that started on 25th December and end with Twelfth Night on 5th January. In the medieval calendar there was still a lot of festive celebration to go!
In the carol, on the 7th day of Christmas my true love sent to me seven swans a swimming. In the old Celtic tradition the seven swans were linked to the seven known planets, elegance and mystery personified. In the 17th century, when the carol originated, swans were seen as good omens, tasty to eat and a source of warmth from the feathers and down. The Christian interpretation of the song was that the seven swans symbolise the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
There’s a rather nice idea here the binds the 12 days of Christmas to the idea of New Year’s resolutions. We all have different gifts and qualities. For example, some are good teachers, others can encourage and motivate people and some people are creative. In the New Year, whether or not we make specific resolutions, we can all plan to use and enjoy our own unique gifts.
A very happy New Year’s Eve! Do you have any special traditions you enjoy at this time of year or resolutions you are intent on making?