Editorial: A Second Chance at a New Year

This week’s editorial has nothing of politics, the Representative Town Meeting, the economy or even the recent police arrest of suspects trying to sell fentanyl. Sometimes something catches our eye that we want to write about that has no obvious editorial slant, and just occasionally our Publisher will let us run with it.

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Hitting the gym every day? Still not drinking coffee or eating chocolate? Dry January? We are not trying to embarrass anyone or make them feel badly. (We broke our New Year’s resolutions in about 22 hours flat.) Just the opposite. This week there is a reset button, a second chance at a New Year.

On Sunday this week, the Lunar New Year will be rung in with festivities celebrated by nearly two billion people worldwide. More commonly known as the Chinese New Year, it is a traditional time to honor ancestors with family reunions, parades, and fireworks to drive off evil spirits. It is celebrated in Asian communities worldwide. So here is your chance for a “redo” on your New Year’s resolutions and possibly even a parade!

Many Asian cultures historically follow a lunar, rather than solar calendar, so the Lunar New Year falls on a different day on the Gregorian calendar every year. While this may be confusing, it is more than just the beginning of a new calendar year. The Lunar New Year is seen as a time of reunion and rebirth, marking the end of winter and the start of spring.

According to one legend, a monster would emerge from under the Earth at the start of every year and eat villagers. There is no mention that children were the ones eaten, so we assume this “legend” was not started by tired parents. Regardless, since the monster called Nian (Chinese for “year”) was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red, they were used to exile the beast, and have all become associated with the holiday.

So that’s what we should do to celebrate our second chance at New Years and our resolutions! We should have a parade with lots of fire trucks (because they are red, and their sirens are really loud). We should also include lots of fireworks – who doesn’t love fireworks? Besides, the fire department will already be there if things get out of hand. We would definitely invite the Greenwich High School marching band, which is now the Pep Band, because their uniforms have a lot of red in them. However, I would suggest they not march directly behind the fireworks.

The Chinese calendar is on a 12-year cycle, with each year linked to one of a dozen animals – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Obviously, 2023 is not the year of the goat since Quarterback Tom Brady – known as “the goat” threw a pass directly into the hands of the opposing team and lost their game this past weekend. This is actually the year of the rabbit.

The Year of the Rabbit symbolizes longevity, positivity, auspiciousness, wittiness, cautiousness, cleverness, deftness, and self-protection. The new year brings new fortunes and people can expect prosperity, hope, and calm. It is said that like the rabbit’s characteristics, we can expect relaxation, fluidity, quietness, and contemplation this year. And if you are born in the year of the rabbit, it is predicted you are to be gentle, quiet, elegant, and alert as well as quick, skillful, kind, patient, and very responsible, sometimes reluctant to reveal your mind to others and having a tendency to escape reality, but always faithful to those around you.

What does all of this mean for Greenwich? We won’t know until further into the year. For now, we are going to take another look at our New Year’s resolutions and see if we can make them last a bit longer. Happy New Year.

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