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What is new in the New Year?

By Editorial Board
20 January 2023   |   3:10 am
SIR: It is New Year but the New Year sometimes ominously carries the putrefaction of the old year, its entrails, its betrayals, its insecurities and uncertainties and the killing of innocent people. It has not emptied its belly of the aches and turbulence of the period before. It still carries the pains, trauma and triumphs…

PHOTO / PARADE

SIR: It is New Year but the New Year sometimes ominously carries the putrefaction of the old year, its entrails, its betrayals, its insecurities and uncertainties and the killing of innocent people. It has not emptied its belly of the aches and turbulence of the period before. It still carries the pains, trauma and triumphs of the previous year. This is despite what we believe, which often is an illusion, that the old year always vanishes with its wahala into oblivion, never to return!

1st of January is first day of the calendar year. But 31st of December does not, cannot obliterate the angst of the dying year. These are just numbers. But there ought to be a break, a severance from the past. In his wisdom, Man had always developed rituals – of atonement, restitution, purgation or purification – that will extricate him from the bondage and evils of the past. This we find in most societies that still harbour and practise respect for the sacred values of human existence, as in the crossover night services made popular by evangelicals and the Pentecostal Movement. At such times, we believe, as T.S. Eliot eloquently expresses in these poetic lines: For last year’s words belong to last year’s language/and next year’s words await another voice/and to make an end is to make a beginning!  

The concept of a new beginning is essentially psychological. No? Is there something tangible we witness clearing the way for a new season? No! It is perception, or faith anchored on the belief system of an individual or society. Time is cyclical. It is a concatenation of experiences. There is no stopping, no pause in physical terms except when the life of a man ceases. So, it is a frame of the mind, a perception that gives us some stability. Just as when we turn 50, or 60, or the magical, scripture-prescribed 70 years and we believe that we have entered a new phase in our life’s journey. We look back and it is like yesterday. Seventy years are like yesterday, like a blink, and some experiences come blinding us with the power of infinite reality. We listen to some music and memories of our childhood come flooding us with part pleasure, part pain. So, we ask, where have those many years gone?  

Yet we often enter the New Year with great hope, enthusiasm, and optimism. We embrace the New Year with the hope that the joy of entering a new chronological date would end the misery of the previous year. It is the way of human beings. Steven Spielberg says that ‘all of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives! It is somewhat part of our fantastic imagination.
• Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha.

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