Snagged from I don't remember where.
"Each New Year millions of people make resolutions to do things differently. Because cultures from around the world understand that the New Year is an opportunity to spiritually turn the wheel of the year and begin anew this is the perfect time to look at areas that need adjustment.
Take the time to do rituals of purification and closure to prepare for a new vision to manifest. As we move into the year 2005, more than ever, it is crucial to take the time to acknowledge our experiences with joy and grief. We must strive to bring balance and harmony into our lives so we can imbue the coming year with the qualities that we most desire."
Spend the day on December 31st by taking some time to be quiet and reflect on the year that is drawing to a close. Think about the people that mattered most to you, your greatest accomplishment, challenging difficulties and the lessons you learned.
Take a purification bath. Scrub yourself with sea salt and wash yourself thoroughly in the water. Feel free to anoint yourself with your favorite oil or perfume.
Contemplate the patterns in your life that keep you stuck. Write down the limiting beliefs or habits that you wish to leave behind with the old year. In a fireproof bowl or fireplace, safely burn the paper. As the paper burns, be aware that you have just made space for new ideas people, and opportunities to enter your life. Carefully, throw out the ashes when they cool. Light a candle for those who have passed on to spirit.
Light a candle for your new potential in the coming year.
Light a candle to acknowledge the earth.
Contribute to your community by planting a tree, helping a homeless family or baking cookies for your local nursing home.
Dance, sing and celebrate life!!
Forgive, forgive, forgive- end the old year by opening your heart to yourself and others.
Holiday Sage and Smudge Tips
These ideas are not new-fangled nor are they airy-fairy New Age waffle. Native American tradition dates back millennia and most traditional cultures, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from the Chinese to the Balinese, have age-old forms of cleansing and blessing ritual
The burning of herbs or incense is a practice held sacred by many indigenous cultures. It is a ritual for cleansing, purifying and protecting the physical and spiritual bodies. The effect of the smoke is to banish negative energies.
Many differing cultures and peoples have their own methods and herbal mixtures for this purpose. Smudging, done correctly, can bring physical, spiritual and emotional balance.
The term Smudging originated in the Native American culture. Native American Indians use a variety of smudging mixtures. In olden times, the end of the smudge stick or braid was lit from the central or cooking fire.
Not everyone views the practice of smudging in the same way and different herbs may be used for different purposes. Smudging is the burning of certain herbs to create a cleansing smoke bath, which is used to purify people, homes, ceremonial and ritual space, and ceremonial tools and objects.There are different ceremonies and rituals that can be done.
The birthplace of "Auld Lang Syne" is also the home of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY), the rousing Scottish New Year's celebration (the origins of the name are obscure). One of the traditions is "first-footing." Shortly after midnight on New Year's eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart New Year's wishes. Traditionally, First foots used to bring along a gift of coal for the fire, or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year is rung in. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration is the largest in the country, and consists of an all-night street party (visit their Hagmanay website here).
The new year is the most important holiday in Japan, and is a symbol of renewal. In December, various Bonenkai or "forget-the-year parties" are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year's day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year's cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year's cards on Jan.1.
The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.
The Dutch burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks. The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.
In Greece, New Year's day is also the Festival of St. Basil, one of the founders of the Greek Orthodox Church. One of the traditional foods served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil's cake. A silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year.
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 Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter.
A traditional southern New Year's dish is Hoppin' John—black eyed peas and ham hocks. An old saying goes, "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year."
Another American tradition is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Tournament of Roses parade that precedes the football game on New Year's day is made up of elaborate and inventive floats. The first parade was held in 1886.
Widely Observed New Year Symbols and Traditions
For more New Year's features see the Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year's celebrations. History of New Year and Saying "Happy New Year!" Around the World. It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.
What ever your belief and however you plan to celebrate:
HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL