THERE are several New Year celebrations of different people and countries around the world. I am familiar with at least four, the Gregorian calendar starts a new year every January 1, and the Christian Calendar starts New Year in Advent which was December 3–24 this year or four Sundays before Christmas. The Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah was last September 20-22, 2017 with food and traditional readings of the Torah and rituals. The Chinese New Year comes this February 16, 2018, which is the Spring Festival or the Lunar year.
I had a chance to join the festival in Baguio during the time my father was a councilor and also during my term. The Nepal Sambat is their lunar new year which is sometime in April and sets the time of religious rituals and celebrations. It falls on the first night of the Swanti Festival. I had an opportunity to join one Nepali Sambat parade. What is common is the celebration of all sorts and in the past I would watch the live TV coverage of different celebration of January 1 and it was very festive.
A decade ago, Rose Marie Dulnuan and I would spend our New Year’s Day by ourselves in my house or in Summit Hotel, with a simple dinner a toast to the New Year with a glass of champagne. It was good times of sharing stories about the past and what we see or plan in the future, then we go home or she goes home if it was in my house. We were in our midyear of our lives then. This year she and her sister are traveling the USA and Canada while I and my husband are spending the New Year at our new beach house. It’s a quiet New Year fit for reflective moments and times of refreshing.
When we were kids, our parents will bring us to church for the midnight mass then we will have bar-b-cue while making noise with paper trumpet and watching the neighbors fire crackers. I remember one time that we have to tie tin cans to the back bumper so that it will create noise when we come home from church. We would even bang some tin cans at the strike of twelve and sometimes we would even stay up all night having bonfire in our yard. But as the years go on, we would not be allowed out during New Year because of the danger of fire crackers and stray bullets.
It has been sometime that New Year has been spent differently because of lose firearms and various super strong fire crackers. Crystal Cave was like a war zone with firecracker and fireworks display. Maybe even guns shot into the air. I heard this was not only true in Baguio or the Philippines; it does happen also in the Western countries until they were able to devise a way to identify where guns were fired and it became a violation.
I remember one time we were in Sadanga and we could see the gun’s tracer bullets pass from the mountains over the village. I don’t know if it still happens during these times. And I am also glad that Baguio and Trinidad has finally banned fire crackers. A resolution we tried to pass during our time, which finally matured into one a few years ago. Now we can again roam the streets on New Year’s Eve without fear of being hit by a firecracker or a bullet.
There are predictions that continue to amuse others and at the same time there are those who will use these to guide them in the coming year. Whatever it is, may the new year find us hopeful.