The new year we Americans will start celebrating tonight also will be celebrated by a good many of the world’s people, but not by all. While the iconic lighted ball descending on Times Square in New York City seems to be the official start of the new year, other countries celebrate at various other times.
The Chinese New Year, for example, widely celebrated in Chinese communities throughout the United States, can begin between Jan. 21 and Feb. 21, and is astrologically determined.
The Mesoamerican New Year — such as for the Aztecs — is on Feb. 23.
The Balinese New Year falls in March.
Gudi Padwa, the first day of the Hindu new year falls in March or April.
The Assyrians on April 1.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is described by Wikipedia as a “two-day holiday commemorating the culmination of the seven days of creation and marking God’s yearly renewal of his world.”
If New Year’s Day has a universal theme, it probably is that — renewal.
It is a time when we want to put aside our old, worn-out year and get a new one, a year untarnished by all the mistakes we have made and all the sins we may have committed.
Out of this desire comes the custom of making New Year’s resolutions — to resolve to do something we want to do or think we should do.
The cat in our house for years has been making resolutions to spend more time rubbing up against my leg and getting cat hair all over my pants.
I, in turn, have made a resolution to shove the cat away with my foot whenever she does this, because not only does she make a mess out of my pant cuffs, she comes close to tripping me if I take a step backward without watching where I am putting my feet.
That makes me more than a little miffed. Sometimes, I will do more than shove the cat away with my foot. I will kick her a little, which doesn’t seem to make the slightest bit of difference to her. She seems to be made of rubber. And while she doesn’t actually look forward to being kicked, she always comes back for more.
This is especially true when I am making her breakfast and supper. We have to feed her wet food now, and it involves quite a bit of preparation, because the veterinarian has instructed us to put a little pill in the wet food and hide it so the cat will eat it. If you just try to give the cat the pill by itself, the cat spits it out and hisses.
Those of you who have fed a cat wet food know it smells awful. It smells like what you get when you clean a fish and leave the innards on a board overnight. It is a smell that doesn’t necessarily make you want to give up fishing, but it does make you hope you don’t catch any.
Then there’s the other thing about wet cat food, which is that it sticks to the spoon you use to get the food out of the can, dig a little hole in the mound of food, put the pill in and cover it up. Wet cat food is not dainty to prepare.
My resolution for this new year is to try to figure out a little cleaner way to fix the cat’s breakfast and dinner and to remember to pick her up and put her outside before I start, so she doesn’t get cat hair all over my pant cuffs.
If I can do that, it will be a very Happy New Year, indeed — just like the one I am wishing for you, although hopefully your cat is less of a problem than mine is.