Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year - the significance of this meaningless ritual

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The New Year is a meaningless celebration and wishing people a Happy New Year is a meaningless activity.

So why do we all do it? Increasingly?

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That January 1st is meaningless is pretty indisputable - yes the year is an astronomical reality, but the 'new' year begins on 22 December, surely?

Or, the religious year starts on different days for different religions, but in Christian countries it would presumably be either on Christmas or Easter day.

Or, the financial year starts on April 1, or the educational year starts in (variously) September or October.

In Scotland, Hogmanay is celebrated as an assertion of not-being-English; however, the real Scottishness celebration is Burns Night (25 January) Robert Burns Birthday.

But nothing happens on January 1st.

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Why then do we celbrate this meaningless numerical change?

Precisely because it is meaningless.

(Because anything meaning-full risks giving some kind of offense to someone or another.)

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And this the point of New Year - it is an arbitrary celebration of pointlessness, which makes it ideal for meaningless modern celebrations - and a close ally of 'happy holidays' and the marking of other-peoples unbelieved-in religious rituals which is so much part of modern schools in the West.

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So elaborate New Year celebrations are a perfect encapsulation of political correctness: a veritable festival of nihilism.

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