New “Year”nings…. for 2012
by Cate Murway

When the clock struck twelve on December 31st,
people cheered and wished each other a very Happy New Year.
For many, this event is no more than an arbitrary division
imposed by the Julian calendar; but for others,
it symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow.
Happy New Year! The year 2011 is gone, never to return.
The new year’s pages are blank, but they are full; full of opportunity.

"Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings, I observe how all endings become beginnings."  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The celebrations abound.
A traditional southern New Year's dish is Hoppin' John- black eyed peas and ham hocks. "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year."

The Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC, a vestige of a thousands-year old tradition from the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange.
January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade.

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year's eve, "Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. Auld Lang Syne literally translates to "Old Long Since," and more roughly it means "long, long ago" or "days gone by."
It was bandleader Guy Lombardo who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year's tradition. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards.They played it at midnight at a New Year's Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC in 1929, and a tradition was born.
The birthplace of "Auld Lang Syne" is also the home of Hogmanay [hog-mah-NAY], the rousing Scottish New Year's celebration. One of the traditions is "first-footing." Just a tad after midnight on New Year's Eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart their new year wishes, traditionally bringing along a gift of coal for the fire, or freshly baked rich and delicate shortbread for the table.

“for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet….”

It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions, and people all over the world have been consistantly breaking them ever since.
The noisemaking and fireworks originated in ancient times when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

So, as the calendar pages turn….
“If you could make just one wish this New Year's Eve..........for 2012. What would it be?”

No responses were resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt, make more money, or just to spend more time with family. Rather the words portend a season of renewal. A time to rededicate one's life to the things that are considered most important.

“And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! and gie's a hand o' thine!” Auld Lang Syne

“World peace.” Once again Bristol resident, Carolyn Anita Herring-Pizzullo.

“Unity.” Peggy L. Bowker

“A cure for cancer................” Colleen Bannon Bresnahan

“For all my Family and Friends who may be sick or suffering to be free of all pain and cured from their illness.”  Gary A.Tosti, BHS ’65, ‘Garyoke’

“A miracle for my daughter, that she will beat her prognosis and learn to walk and talk.” Karen Sangillo, Calkins Media sports reporter

“That my 3 boys and me are healthy.” Nora Arant Brennan

Some voiced Election Year Hopes for the upcoming year.

“Not to see THAT!” [Obama signs] Coleen McCrea Katz

“Leaders that will confront problems directly - analyze the issue and develop solutions that are designed to serve the public good rather than to conform to political machinations.” Frederic H. Baumgarten, President, The Grundy Commons, Canal Street, Bristol.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. Benjamin Franklin

Then there are those who yearn for yesterday.

“Can't really put it on a public forum, lets just say I wish I could go back to my 20's and be happy. Leave it at that!” Iowa resident, Ryan Mullen, BHS ‘91

“I would get the opportunity to tell my mom that I loved her, just one more time. And she would answer me.”
Cate Murway, correspondent/coach/motivational speaker

… and some for yesterday’s simple pleasures.

“A puppy right? ….only if it's a yellow lab.” Sindi Later

Some were just planning for a much better tomorrow.

“To get a warehouse to house furniture and start a furniture bank!!!”
Beth Shotwell Baker, founder of Deserving Décor, a non-profit, charitable organization created with a genuine passion for homeless families.

“A closer walk with the Lord!” Patricia Massi

“My wish would be to track down all terrorists and make America a safer place.”
Michael Rago, proprietor of M. Rago Plumbing, Bristol 

“To visit with my daughter Lisa and grandson Ethan”. Bristol Elks #970 PER, Stanley H. Ogryzek hopes to take a trek to Florida.

“Health for my entire family and a job for my son-in-law.” Maureen E. Williams

“A Practical Wish …Once when I was young and naïve, I wished for great wealth and received a bucket of bills. Then later with maturity, ... I wished for good health and received a mountain of ills.
Now in reaching my golden years, I wished for just strength to endure whatever is sent.
BWB [BWB = Backwater Billy, my nom de plume as CEO of Sunsets-To-Go.] …2012  Bill Slack

“That we all truly try to embrace the teachings of a man who lived a very short time on this earth some 2000 years ago. Happy New Year!” Ron Parodi, Northeast Regional Manager, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."  Leo Buscaglia

“WOW… tough to pick just one wish/goal/resolution for me personally, I guess find employment for me, then work on the rest of the list. Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!” Fred Brehm

“My wish for the New Year is good health and happiness to all my friends and family. I don't make New Year’s resolutions because they are rarely kept but I hope to be more involved personally with the homeless encampment and food bank. Can anyone join me?” Jayne McPherson-Young, proprietor of “Got Wine?”, Market Street, Bristol.

"Oh I don't know maybe winning the 120 million maga-power jackpot and world peace but hasta be in that order."
Mike Keiper, BHS '83

Some just had more than enough of 2011.

“That the Myans are correct. End of the world 2012....12/21/12.” George Ditto, BHS ’78

It appears that the Maya elders said they expect
radical climate shifts and related problems,
very different than a doomsday,
an actual end of the world prophecy.

Into love and peace and prosperity may you the upcoming year, 20-12! ♥

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picture courtesy of Bonnie O'Connell Ryan