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What is new about the New Year?

Very steadily, the world has been ushered into another new year. This time it is the year, 2020. The year 2019 has faded out and would never be encountered in life ever again. It is gone with all its woes and delights, all its challenges and achievements and all the sadness and happiness. It has given way to the ensued year, 2020.

A believed history of a year has it that, a populist Roman dictator, politician, and military general, Julius Caesar who created the Julian calendar thought that it would be appropriate for him to name the first month after himself as in Janus’ which later became January. This he believed was to be the doorway to a new year. He made January 1st, the first day of the year “this also put the calendar year in line with the consular year, as new consuls also took office that day”

Some twenty years ago, ushering into the New Year and the 21st century, for that matter, was a bit scary because no one could read nor predicted what was in stock for the planet called earth. Several predictions had been made including the end of the world. True that it is, as per the good old book the bible, the world did not end at the beginning of the 21st century and it has also not ended now.

It was scary also due the fear and panic associated with the much publicised and speculated stoppage of all computers on the globe. This was popularly referred to as the Y2K Scare. It was described as the phenomenon at the turn of the century where computer users and programmers feared that computers would stop working on December 31, 1999.

Y2K is an abbreviation for “year 2000.” As that year approached, many feared that computer programs storing year values as two-digit figures (such as 99) would cause problems. Many programs written years ago (when storage limitations encouraged such information economies) are still being used. Such fear, panic and uncertainty have over the years characterised new years. Sometimes too, new years are faced with confidence and joy, depending chiefly on individual circumstances and situations.

Today, we find ourselves in another new year called 2020. It is finally here and the entire world assumed vigorous celebration to welcome it, as usual.

Outside Ghana, tens of thousands of people gathered in London to watch a fireworks display launched from the London Eye over the River Thames. There were also fireworks lighting up the sky over the Main River in Frankfurt, Germany with similar event over the Kremlin in Moscow

New year celebrations in Paris also was marked with fireworks and a series of projections on the Arc de Triomphe. Fireworks illuminate the sky around Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In Turkey, Crowds lit paper lanterns in front of the Ortakoy mosque in Istanbul.

While children spun makeshift sparklers as they celebrated the new year in Nairobi, Kenya.

Indians watched families danced in front of the Gateway of the country in Mumbai.

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was witnessed huge gathering of people welcoming the New Year with concert

Crowds also gathered at Shougang Industrial Park, one of the sports venues for the coming Beijing 2022 Olympics in China.

Protesters in Hong Kong, who have gathered on and off since June, took a moment to count down to the New Year. All these events are just about annual rituals.

In Ghana as usual, the church services were held to usher in the year 2020. Others were engaged in some other social and religious activities. Resolutions were made as forgiveness of sins, errors and mistake were sought from all over. In some cases, targets have been set towards marriage, career, education, finance, societal status, religious achievement, morality issues, political ambitions, interest, among many others.

During the beginning of a new year, people pray and wished for a new beginning and a clean slate to start a whole new life. Some wished that they wouldn’t have lived in the year 2019 as the year was perceived to have not gone well for them, while at the same time there were others who might have thought it was the best of years.

In the media, the year 2020 represents the fresh start of a new year after a period of remembrance of the passing 2019, including on radio, television, and in newspapers, which starts in early December. Publications have year-end articles that review the changes during last year. The year in retrospect has been lined-up on most networks. While the media review the activities of other organisations, they in most cases do not have time to review their own.

New year is the time when people celebrate the start of a year. While some people travel out of the cities to visit relatives and friends in the hinterlands others make the opposite journeys to enjoy the moments in the cities.

Just like time, the old year is irretrievable, it is gone and gone for ever. It is gone with all untapped opportunities and privileges, hence the urgent need for all to be extra alert for opportunities in the new year. Mistakes and errors such as arrogance, laziness, and lack of knowledge which contributed to the loss of opportunities must be corrected.

Celebrations of the New Year begs for a question which has not been addressed properly over the years. This is, what is new about the New Year? Is anything or something new about a new year?

This question is important because as the bell strikes for the time as it is the sunset or midnight as per one’s believe, all things and indeed everything remains as it is. The sky is still blue, the sea, mountains, rivers and indeed all physical and geographical features are basically at where they are.

The road to our homes, office and other infrastructure edifices remain same. The faces of loved ones, friends and colleagues do not change in anyway. Loved ones on admission at the hospitals at 31st night will still be on admission. They may only be discharged primarily due to improvement in their health conditions which has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the New Year. So what is new about the New Year?

Evil doers in society continue with their diabolic activities, crime wave goes on. Nothing is halted by the appearance of the New Year.

As I was contemplating on this, I had a message which appeared to answer this question of what is new about the New Year.

“Many people live in the delusion that the New Year comes with special blessings that will turn things around in their favour. It is good to be optimistic, positive, and hopeful for better days ahead. But it is problematic to put such hopes in the change of a date”.

There’s no magic in the fact that the date has changed. Dates change every day. So the change in today’s date doesn’t bring anything new as in a new year and possess any magic to turn things around. The change you desire will result from your own actions, inactions, decisions, attitudes, choices, etc.

Despite the change in date, the resolutions, the prophecies, the watch night services, the wishes, and the declarations, nothing will change if you remain the same.

You can’t get different results in 2020 when you keep doing the same things you did in 2019. It’s a new year and you have the opportunity to review the previous year, pick up the lessons, make amends, and live a new life. The magic of the New Year is in a new life, not a new date. Enjoy 2020 by living a new life”

Nana Sifa Twum

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