It is a well-established fact that New Year’s Day (with the possible exception of Valentine’s Day) is the most depressing day of the year. It’s supposed to be filled with portent and possibility, with hope for the coming year. Instead it is filled with asinine parades, with stomach-churning hangovers and bleak dreary weather. What does it portend, besides your fat ass getting fatter and your so-called resolutions swirling noisily down the toilet? The only unalloyed good news is that you finally get to throw the Christmas tree out into the street.
An interesting question is: why do we celebrate the new year between December and January? I think the ancients got it right. Before Julius Caesar, the new year started with the springtime equinox in March, a fine time for resolutions and hopefulness. After gallantly naming July in his own honor, Caesar thought it better to move the new year’s festivities from the vernal equninox to the winter solstice. Allowing for some time to celebrate the solstice, that launched the new year on January first. A great pity. I propose that we move it back to March. Or better yet, move it to the the cross-quarter day between equinox and summer solstice, May first, indisputably the best day of the year. So my resolution for 2003 is to move the celebration of the new year from drab January to… oh never mind. I’m going back to bed.