It comes like a whisper, so silent an entity in of itself. We are the ones that mark it with our fire and noise, alcohol and drunken sex.
This is fitting.
After all, we are the ones that decided that the end of the old year would be on December 31st as opposed to any other day in the year. We humans, yes, we did this.
And we've done this for years.
Every year about two hours before the end of the year, I feel that strange shifting of the old dying and the new coming and no matter how bad a year it's been, I always think that it's happening too fast and wish I could tread water a little until I can get my head around the fact that yet another year will have passed. On the threshold between the years and for maybe about a minute either way, I get emotional as I feel this quiet whisper of a shift that makes the world feel special and new again. We've made such a big thing of new year celebrations for years now that I'm almost surprised that it's not louder, stronger, clearer...more tangible. But no, the entity known as 'New Year' doesn't need to be loud.
Back home, we would cross our arms and join hands in a circle to sing 'Auld Lang Syne'. This would be done with family and friends. This is our way in participating in the change, warding in the new year and trying to bring in luck by singing a song of frith. At the conclusion, we all move in to the centre of the circle while our hands are still joined before breaking the circle to go round hugging each other and wishing each other happy new year. This always makes me tear up.
Not long after that is when friends from other homes will knock on the door with a bottle of alcohol and they are invited in and we share before taking some of our alcohol and going to theirs and other people's houses. We wish each other luck and renew the bonds of frith with each other. The street comes to life as we mill around outside and in and out of each others houses. Friends of mine more recently started fire dancing on the green space across road from my parents' house. We'd also set off fireworks in our too-small gardens and not caring about the safety advice about things like 'safe distance'. The whole night would be a cacophony of bangs and sparkles and life.
This year this didn't happen. This year I was a spectator, watching with my cup of Glühwein clutched in one hand and my other arm around my husband, watching other people's fireworks. I'm glad to have my husband home this year. So very very glad. Last new year's eve, I dreamed about seeing in the New Year with my husband, of him being home from Iraq safe and sound and now I have that I dream of seeing in many many more with him but I also dream of doing that while still observing the old traditions that I grew up with.
Since moving to this army base in Germany, I've noticed that around the Americans, I don't seem to have as much space and time for the traditions I grew up with, their traditions take precedence and mine just seem as though they'd be considered 'quaint' or just plain weird by them. In Denmark, I went to a friend's house that was full of traditions observed and I realised that I've missed that. I've missed having traditions in my life because I have traditions too, I come from a place full of them and I need to stop letting them slide. I need to keep them alive as a link to my land and my family.
So that is my first resolution for the coming year, I'm going to try and observe traditions that I was too lazy or too shy to observe last year.
My second resolution is that I'm going to try and improve myself in all things.