Been thinking about New Years. It is a strange — perhaps the strangest — of all American holidays. I mean really, what’s the point? It’s a new day, a new month, a new year. Big whoop-tee-doo.
THINKING. New Years Day is January first. January? Where did the name of that month come from?
This month is actually named for the Roman god of gates and doorways. More generally, Janus was also known as the god of endings and beginnings. Hmmmm. This is getting more interesting. From the wiki…
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: Ianus, pronounced [ˈiaː.nus]) is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor.
Janus looks after passages, causes actions to start and presides over all beginnings, and since movement and change are bivalent, he has a double nature, symbolised in his two headed image.
Janus frequently symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of future to past, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people’s growth to adulthood. He represented time, because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as at marriages, deaths and other beginnings. Having jurisdiction over beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.
Happy January first!
For the past year I’ve had the pleasure of being an evangelizer for an important movement called Life Reimagined created by AARP to help people find new possibilities in life. Reimagination is something I’m very passionate about.
If the Life Reimagined movement is going to be about the conscious reclamation of new beginnings, it would seem logical that our movement ought to “reimagine” the American secular holiday that resonates most fully with “fresh starts.” Yeah, that’s right — we are plotting to take over New Years.
This year’s “First Fest” will take place in my hometown of Ithaca, N.Y. Come and join us, we’d love to have you! It will feature local music, art, dance and food in ways that help people see past “RESOLUTIONS” and into “POSSIBILITIES.” It’s all about creating a life reimagined for yourself and for others. We think that, with your help, we can make this little festival into a national phenomenon. We can change our world and have a darn good time while we are doing so.
Keep an eye out for posts from Nate Silas Richardson — he’s the musical genius who is reimagining American music in some pretty cool and unexpected ways. You’ll also get some insight into how we plan to make our “culture hack” a vibrant and enjoyable reality.
Hey, maybe even old Janus will keep an eye (or four) on our project as well. He might just be feeling the need for a little reimagination for himself.