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a new year is always near for someone…

“…it is likely that there are at least several dozen, if not hundreds, of examples of cultures and civilizations that have recognized the new calendar differently throughout history

🗓A new year for who?🌎🌏🌍👀

1st January 2023: the first day of the new? For you maybe, but not all. Many civilised people do not mark this day as the first of a new year. I knocked on the door of my new friend, ChatGPT, and asked it how many alternative dates the New Year can be, “…it is likely that there are at least several dozen, if not hundreds, of examples of cultures and civilizations that have recognized the new calendar differently throughout history“. At least several dozen! Wow! And with a little coaxing ChatGPT offered many examples. You may be interested in the vastness and the range: I have roughly divided the answers – listed ancient and modern – January to December. It is to be noted that a new year is always nearby for someone…

ancient civilisations

  • Aztec calendar – February – sun god, Huitzilopochtli.
  • ancient Mesopotamia – spring – festival of Akitu.
  • ancient Rome – March 1 – the festival of Anna Perenna.
  • Persian calendar – Spring – Nowruz
  • Maya civilization – August -the heliacal rising of the star Sirius.
  • ancient Egypt – September – marked by the flooding of the Nile.
  • ancient Greek calendar – September – the goddess of agriculture, Demeter.
  • Inca calendar – December – solstice.

here and now

  • Chinese calendar – January 21 and February 20 – depending on the lunar calendar.
  • Vietnamese calendar – January or February – Tet
  • Korean calendar ~ February – Seollal
  • Tibetan calendar – February or March – Losar
  • Baha’i calendar ~ March – first day of the month of Naw Ruz
  • Zoroastrian calendar – March or April – Nowruz.
  • Hindu (Ugadi); Buddhist (Songkran) – April: Thai (Songkran); Telugu (Ugadi); Punjabi (Baisakhi); Tamil (Puthandu); Marathi (Gudi Padwa); Bengali (Pohela Boishakh); Cambodian (Choul Chnam Thmey); Burmese (Thingyan); Lao (Pii Mai); Nepali (Bisket Jatra); Sinhalese (Aluth Avurudda)
  • Islamic calendar – first day of the month of Muharram (July 30, 2023).
  • Coptic calendar – September 11 – (Nayrouz); Ethiopian (Enkutatash)
  • Jewish calendar – September or October – Rosh Hashanah.

2023, and still seeking to be

A new year, and a new view. Learning perhaps from past years and wiser heads. The ancient few are now a scholarly many, but the settled answers are fewer now than ever. Listening to a podcast via Plum Village last night, reminded me of the simplicity of insight. Simply a matter of listening keenly, looking more intently, and holding onto nothing. Or at least nothing more than knowing there are other points of views. These teachings too are all far from original – originating many times from many places – but I am still necessarily and constantly reminded of this anew.

How many times is this said but not heard? I read it often via Socratic origins – for he knew well enough the little he knew. An enlightened other gave the first of eight Buddhist noble paths as the Right View. In my own university training I am warned of post-hoc fallacy, e.g., mistaking causation when there is only correlation. Yet here I am, presiding over my PhD claims to know conflict and dispute, as if it can be a truth known only to the few. How many times more will it be said, “know only that you know nothing“? How many more times will it be said, but still without my attention to the why. Said with my looking only at the who, or the how? 2023, a year of new learning, and much more yet to undo.

What then, am I so sure about? So sure that I cannot be wrong? This will perhaps be my New Year task. One to uncover, bring forward, unmask. Yet even here, by what measure has the last year now past? Dare I look so far in, to knock at the cultural foundations from which I now build from at last? Still so unsure I am worthy of that task.

Firstly, I am now sure I was wrong. Or had at least needlessly strayed too long from my path. Building a career, and a home, but to no end. I now have no career. I am selling my home. I seek better understanding by degrees. Perhaps I was right, before. I lived moderately enough. Served a purpose, even if it was not my own. Managed conflict by doing, not sat in my study. Safely contained within a white-collar community. Perhaps the better way is indeed revenue growth, paid service, and that predictable security.

Secondly, I am sure I am now right. Even in knowing I do not know, is affirmation to which I have no sight. Yet here I sit, seeking to gift myself more time at that wheel. Reading other peoples’ best work, and learning that skill as a more critical task. Seeking less solutions but better ways to ask. My platform is being reset. Doing things I had long-since categorised, and designated as regret. If I am to knock at my grounding now, that is closer to my foundation stone — but founded on something unmet: something unknown.

That is what 2023 is to me. My ongoing attempt to change for the better, whilst enduring such endless dissonance. Seeking to know I do not know. Yet still seeking to empower and do. Learning new ideas, new skills, applying them all endlessly. Am I now on the right path? Was I better off, being richer but less well? Who knows? Why even ask? That question seems well beyond me…

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