Originally posted on 01-01-2011
While for us Neopagans the new year may start at Samhain, our calendar year starts a good bit later, today in fact. Celebrating new year’s eve on the night of December 31th might seem a bit problematic to you. Your believes tell you there is nothing special about that day, after all. On top of that, billions of dollars of pretty pollution are shot up into the night sky every year and people get killed or injured and property destroyed in what should be a celebration of new and better times. How do you deal with new year as a pagan?
How to deal with the new year
New year celebrations are magical because they remind us of being kids, allowed to stay up late for the first time. A glass of sparkly apple juice in hand, eyes watering with exhaustion and a tummy full of food, we stood watching the fireworks and celebrating a moment in time.
As Neopagans, we celebrate the new year at Samhain; the circle is completed, the word at peace and we head into the new cycle with grace and gratitude. It is your own choice if you want to send out new year wishes then or save them until everyone else is ready to receive them.
Celebrating the new year is supposed to be about contemplating the new year and spending the day with people you want in it. Celebrating this on both Samhain and the 31th of December is really only a good thing.
Discovering Neopagan religions does not need to take away anything from the celebration of new year on December 31th. It can still be as magical and perfect as every before. Part of being a Neopagan, however, is to be aware and critical of what we are doing to our planet. Let’s face it, firework is bad for our planet.
Why do we light firework?
The tradition of lighting firework comes from 12th century China. The firework was used to ward off evil spirits as the new year arrived. It’s not odd, then, that we as Neopagans may wish to emulate this reasoning or that we just want to fire the rockets off into the air for the thrill or the beauty of it. It’s doing this without damaging our beautiful, struggling, planet much further that is the big trick here.
Some—not all—fireworks contain heavy metals, sulfur-coal compounds and toxins. All do, however, create smoke and leave behind paper waste that is hard to recycle. While I tend to keep blog posts in third person, I do need to mention that it hurts my heart every year when I watch the fireworks being shot up into the night’s sky. Yes, they are beautiful and sometimes I enjoy that. Stepping out into their billowing chemical residue I can’t help but get a little nauseous, however—and not just from the smell.
There are ways to minimize your pollution on new year’s eve. You can, of course, not light any fireworks yourself and even volunteer for some clean-up the day after. Many garbage collectors will appreciate the effort. As an alternative to fireworks your can light wishing balloons but they aren’t completely safe either. If you go for this option, make sure the material the balloon is made of is biodegradable. People are working on eco-friendly fireworks but it’s hard to create these at a competitive price. If you do want to go out and watch the fireworks, a lot of cities put on their own fireworks display and it’ll probably be more impressive than the neighbor’s firework.
Be safe and happy
Celebrating the new year is supposed the be about love. Spread it to those around you and take a moment to realize that the people you are with or the ones that send you messages are the people you need in your life.
Little Witch magazine is still fledgling. In our few months of life, we have received around 160 individual visitors and a little over a thousand page views. We want to thank every single person who browsed our website, read our magazine and talked to us on Twitter or by email. We wish you the very, very best in the new year and hope it is blessed and magickal. We hope you are healthy, happy and at peace and if you are not, we hope you will find acceptance and, if possible, recovery in the next year.
Blessed be and enjoy whatever is to come. Life is and adventure and should be lived to its fullest.