Jan 1, 2018
Out with old, in with the new! That is literally how some people welcome in the New Year. In some parts of Italy, especially in the south, Italians have the custom of throwing old things out the window, especially old pots, pans, plates and any other unwanted items. A grand gesture to let go of the past! Ecuadorians are somewhat more creative. They take old clothes, stuff them with straw and make them into effigies of the old year and then burn them on New Year's Eve.
At the stroke of midnight, from Samoa to California, sirens, fireworks, horns, bells and every other sort of raucous noise bid a strong farewell to the old year. People raise their glasses of champagne, prosecco, or sparkling apple cider and toast a hardy welcome to a new year. With the turning of the calendar from December to January, everyone looks forward to a better future.
Nonetheless, all the cheers and good wishes of our New Year's celebrations cannot change reality. We are the same person the first day of a new year as we were on the last day of the old year. There is no radical break in our lives when the Times Square ball makes its sixty-second descent, marking a new year.
The fact that something is new does not make it any better. We can become so enamored with change that we run the risk of losing a sense of stability. Not every change in society is progress. We should hail the advances in medicine that allow doctors to operate on some infirm babies in utero and bring them to term. We should hang our heads in shame that we allow other doctors to take away a child's life in its mother's womb.