Today is called the “Beginning” in my culture. Traditionally, it is set to be the day to begin preparing for the new year festivities.
In the olden days, it was the day to dust off and cleanse away the impurities that have piled up over the past year, and go into the woods to obtain pine tree branches to decorate the doors and firewood to cook festive treats. It was all done to welcome the Gods on new year’s day – houses were cleaned spotless so they will want to come in and stay, doors were decorated so that they will know where they can come in, and treats were cooked to entertain and satisfy them.
Nowadays, we still clean our houses before the year ends (but with many spots remaining), have (often bought) decorations by our doors, and prepare (or more likely, have delivered) festive foods. It seems the acts of the tradition have survived, though incompletely, but the thoughts behind them have largely been lost over time. I hear many of my people, especially the younger generations, say they do it all for their own sake – to end this year on a good note and begin the new one upbeat.
I find it quite fascinating that this tradition has mostly maintained its shape and form, but a little sad to see it becoming a mere façade.
Maybe because I feel we are starting to slowly but surely miss the point of doing all these things.
Or maybe because I miss having people who share my understanding of it all.
Maybe I fear I will miss what I think is the most important part of this tradition – to be grateful to be able to end another year and bring in a new one, with all my dear families and friends safe and well, and to wish the same for everyone else.
I am one of those who continues the tradition in a very incomplete manner. But when I clean my house to the best I can, go buy the door decorations, and reserve delivery of festive foods, all in the limited time I have after work and on weekends, I make sure I appreciate the fact that this time of the year has come once again for me… before I fret about how much busier I am going to get!
And this is where I begin on this day, in preparation to welcome in the new year.
I wish you all a very merry festive season with your dear families and friends!
I tatted today’s piece in leafy colours… maybe I will hang this by my door so the Tatting Muse will visit me in the new year to let me become more skillful!?