Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

New Year's Fireworks from Auckland's Sky Tower

Students celebrate the forthcoming new year at Shenyang Agricultural University in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, ChinaPicture: Xinhua News Agency/REX
According to InfoPlease, "The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice...

The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls—the highest officials in the Roman republic—began their one-year tenure. But this new year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1".

Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 P.M. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood; the current ball is made of Waterord Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter (Bruner). 
In my town of Boise, ID they drop a giant potato rather than a crystal ball:

Here in Auckland, they set off fireworks from the Skytower.

Photo: Enjoy Festivals

Many people set resolutions at New Years.  I tend to be fairly goal oriented throughout the year, so I don't make a big deal about making new ones on January 1.  But it is a time when I reflect on the year just passed and sort of take stock on how I'm doing in my general progress.

I base my goals on the concepts taught as "Personal and Family Preparedness" which encourages people to become self-reliant in six different areas: (1) literacy and education; (2) career development, (3) financial and resource management, (4) home production and storage, (5) physical health, and (6) social-emotional and spiritual strength.



The prepared person reads, writes, and does basic mathematics; regularly studies the scriptures and other good books; and uses local resources to teach these skills and habits to all family members. Parents and children should take advantage of public and other educational opportunities.


 Each head of a household should select a suitable vocation or profession and pursue appropriate training. Each young person should receive counsel to help him select a career that will satisfy family economic needs and provide personal satisfaction.


Each person establishes financial goals, pays tithes and offerings, avoids debt, pays obligations, uses family resources wisely, and saves during times of plenty for times of need.


 Each person or family produces as much as possible through gardening, sewing, and making household items.  Each person and family learns techniques  of  home canning,  freezing  and  drying foods and,  where legally permitted, stores a one-year supply of food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel.



 Each person obeys the Word of Wisdom and practices sound principles of nutrition, physical fitness, weight control, immunization, sanitation, mother and child health, accident prevention, dental health and medical care.  Members live in a healthy and clean environment.  In addition, each member acquires appropriate skills in first aid safety, home nursing and food selection and preparation.

AREA 6: Social / Emotional & Spiritual Strength
 Each person builds spiritual strength to meet life's challenges with confidence and stability by learning to love God and communicate with Him in personal prayer; to love and serve his/her neighbor, and to love and respect her/himself through righteous living and self mastery.  Social emotional and spiritual strength is increased by living the principles of the gospel.

For me, it's all about balance.   At various times throughout my life I have done better in some areas and not so well in others.   But as I continue to review each area and examine my personal alignment with the standards given, I can identify the specific things I can do to become more the person I was created to be.

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