Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ringing in the New Year

I read that on New Year's Day, Buddhists will ring a prayer bowl 108 times with each ring representing a bead on their prayer beads. Paul Corbet writes that "The beads represent things that get in the way of our relationships-greed, lust for power, warfare, and other obstacles on our spiritual path". Ringing the bells 108 times is an opportunity to let go of those things and start the New Year with a clean slate. This need to celebrate and begin anew is one of the oldest human traditions going back to ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. The Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring. That makes a lot of sense to me as the season of spring calls us to a new beginning and new hope as the earth comes alive. But it is in the early days of the winter season that we jump at the opportunity to celebrate light in the darkness and warmth in the cold. New Year's Eve and Day enable us to look ahead with hope. Karen Deal Robinson says a version of the following prayer when she prays with her "Seasons of a Year" beads.
On the longest night of the year, cold and dark surround us.
On the long, dark nights, when the snow drifts deep,
let us find warmth and love in the firelight.
Happy New Year!

No comments: