New Year for who?

New Year celebrations are going on around the globe, curiously in numerous countries both Christian, Hindu and Muslim, yet this day is a totally western construct, with no astronomical basis in any culture whatsoever. This shows just how globalised we are now, and particularly how westernised we have all become. Of course fireworks are originally a Chinese invention so that shows the intermingling of cultures that occurs in our lives.

Not everyone will be celebrating New Year with a bang though. Certain counties want nothing to do with the artificial imposition, while others are too terror struck to allow festivities in their cities, like Belgium for example. Others across the globe are gearing up for more muted celebrations, surrounded by tighter than usual police presence. So it is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to the old year and greet the new.

A quick look at the history of today’s New Year celebration reveals that it is based on a Roman calender with Julian and Gregorian roots. In other words it’s actually a fairly arbitrary construct with little, if any real relevance to us today, yet it is possibly one of the biggest global celebratory events of all. What does that say about the relevance or depth of our culture as a western institution? Not much. No planetary alignment of any sort sets this day out as something relevant, based as it is on the annual solar calender. Even the financial year begins somewhere closer to the Equinox, an arguably more appropriate date for New Year. Nothing of any relevance happens today. There is no “real ” reason to celebrate anything. Even the Chinese new year at least begins on the New Moon, thus making it fall on a slightly different day each year. Of course everyone wants to go out in style or with a bang, or perhaps more importantly wants to start with a bang, so maybe today is as good a day as any. Perhaps the mood has missed me somehow, or perhaps it’s the current slowing down of Mercury to an almost standstill and immanent retrograde starting on the 5th that has dampened the spark of my fireworks somewhat, but I’m not alone, for many countries will have relatively muted New Year celebrations today. I mean look at the state of the world. When you have to intensify your military presence with more troops than ever to safeguard your revelers in every capital city globally, because of those who are alienated by the very culture you are celebrating, it leaves a rather strange taste to the festive cheer.

Perhaps the position of the Moon in muted Virgo may be limiting the emotional vibrancy of this New Year. Fortunately one silver lining exists in the fact that the Moon conjuncts Jupiter in the zodiac now, if only for a few hours, expanding the mood of the moment in humble Virgo fashion. So if you don’t need any more meaningful reason to celebrate and are content with the randomness of today’s date; and if a potential terror attack is statistically unlikely to strike at a theatre near you, then perhaps a little festive cheer could well trickle into your evening. Perhaps enough to light a sparkler. After all, how many countless domestic pets will be traumatised by the fireworks explosions at midnight? The Moon aligned with Jupiter in Virgo at midnight does inspire a thought for our voiceless dependants in lesser species, those humble, dutiful servants of mankind. So spare a thought for their wellbeing if you intend to try out your Chinese crackers at Roman New Year wherever it may find you on the planet.