Monday, January 2, 2012

NEW YEAR I have created a monster for myself.... my blog it needs feeding

It has been a few days and I have not posted anything of note with regard to New Years as promised. What does New Year mean for me as  Jew? It means renewed hope as I call on G-D's mercy as a Jew and try to make the new year a better one, a more worthwhile one. I look at the previous years goals and how did I achieve them? Were they worthwhile goals or superficial ones. Was I unrealistic and tried to take on too much? That is also important, as well as not underestimating oneself. For us as Jews the New Year or Rosh Hashana (literally Head of the Year) is a very important time. It is one of spiritual repentance and remembrance of G-D and how G-D's mercy sustains us all in this world. It is not a time for getting drunk and wild revelry doing things that we would not normally do and making the excuse that we are too drunk or inebriated to know what we were doing. Not at all. It is a time when we really do pay attention to the minutest detail of our behaviour and endeavour to admit to it, face up to it and correct it, not to conceal it or cover it up.

Here are some differences that I have noted.
Jewish New Year is about family getting together at shule and later for a meal together. It is about making a tikkun or correction in our self and our behaviour. We check Mezuzot, we clean windows and it is a different sort of cleaning pesach cleaning. We clean our neshamot or souls of anger and hatred and focus on our relationships both with G-D and with others. It is a whole experience. Before Yom Kippur we go to the Mikveh (ritual bath) and on Yom Kippur we fast. In the month of the New Year Tishrei we also remember who we are and G-D mercy, we dwell in booths or succot and on Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret we come together as a nation to celebrate and be joyous over the Torah. Even then we should not get so intoxicated that we forget who we are. It is about remembering who we are.

So totally different really from the secular new year where getting as intoxicated as possible, locking lips with any person male or female at midnight, dancing around in mindless joy, watching fireworks, drinking again and vomiting in the gutter and staggering home on public transport or any taxi foolish enough to pick up such a person. There are people who do celebrate in a far more sober and serious fashion but they are not the main trend of celebrating. Most people are proud not to have a recollection of their new year which kind of defeats the purpose of a new year and a new start to another stage in one's life. It seems to be forgetting who we are.

Islam does not celebrate New Year or Hijri which is on 1 Muharram in the Islamic calendar and belongs to one of their three forbidden months where they are apparently not allowed to fight or have battles. It is also the date of one of Mohammed's sons being killed. It is a pity that the 'religion of peace' did not have more forbidden to fight months and do they observe this edict?

Chinese New Year is usually around the end of January or beginning of February. They see off the ghosts of the old year with lots of firecrackers and give out red envelopes with money to children and the poor some do. There are dragon dances which are highly significant and symbolic. Celebrations start on the first of the month and continue until the fifteen and the festival of lanterns. It is very much a family time and a time of getting together to work on the new. They wear red clothes to symbolise fire which burns out the old year and all the old bad spirits.

Hindu New Year is held this year in most Hindu countries around the middle of April and I will cut and paste some information on it here.
Hindu New Year time is the time of celebration. It is the time to meet and greet people. It is believed that this time of the year brings lot of hope and prosperity to the community. People celebrate the beginning of the year in different special ways. Few ways of celebration are:
  • Oil lamps are lit in front of the house
  • Rangolis are made with pink, red, purple and yellow flowers
  • New clothes are worn
  • Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha are worshipped
  • Gifts and sweets are exchanged
  • They also believe it is a time to plough and turn over the soil which makes sense for an agricultural society.
It is quite interesting to see how many people celebrate a NEW YEAR. Isn't it?


Bronwyn McDonald said...

Evening, I do not celebrate new years day, christmas, easter, birthday, nothing, unless guilt makes me do it. To me each day is a day and only humans appoint a special meaning to it. Some how people have to all do it, whether or not it is right or wrong, they just grow up being told that it is a certain day and you have to behave in this manner and do this or that, when really, it is just a sun revolving around a planet and those upon think they are sooo special when really they are not, and neither is any of our so called special days or days of celebration. Sure, it forms a bonding mechanism, and keeps society absorbed for a while but really, it is just another day. The trouble happens when one group of people think that they are superior or 'right'and everyone else is wrong, and so they kill, maim and destroy in the name of a special day and how it 'should'be celebrated. As long as people are happy with what they do, themselves, then that is fine by me. It is the arrogance that does my head in. Take the Taliban, the pope, Dali Lama, all of them hop out of Mercedes when on TV, that annoys me as well. You may think me cruel and cynical but I bet you any money that some high top dog Jewish leader ate his head off while every honest, hard working believer such as yourself did not. Sorry, religion annoys me with it's tall poppies in mansions and fast cars when the starving starve. If I could have any wish, it would have been that in our far away past that some one, any one religion won a war and everyone converted to that religion only. Then we would still not have peace because two year olds fight in sand pits, people divorce, families feud, and all of it is hidden in a veneer of humanity when basically we are all animals. Plus, the leaders in the gettos gave up other Jews just to live. Religion is not going to change people's basic nature, which is selfishness, like me. I am very good at that. At times at least. I suppose your blood pressure is skyrocketing because your religion as important to you as it is not to me and never the two shall meet. Today two annoying jehovah witnesses came to my door to save my soul. In the past, some dopey bugga wanted more money from his followers and so he wrote that they should go out and spread the word. I asked the JWs if they would give me money and not books and words, they left. Aha! They were old men, simply frightened to die and not go to heaven, that is it. Pure and simple. They just want brownie points for saving me, and I doubt they even care. Needless to say that my discussions with them are brief. They need the weak and feeble, old and sick, also fearing death and hell to get new recruits easily, not an old blabbermouth like me, asking questions they can not answer. Byeee

Ilana said...

Firstly I respect your right to believe or not to believe. That is part of the basic respect one owes one's fellow human being.
Judaism never seeks converts and in fact potential converts are turned away multiple times until they have proved that they really want to be Jewish and take on a lifestyle that would seem bizzare to people like yourself who are happy just being your natural selves. You are right we are bizzare, because we do things that even we do not understand fully and we might never understand totally but we do them because we are Jewish. It is a prerequisite to being Jewish that you are a little crazy. If you are too normal you would not want to be Jewish anyway.
On another level the core of our religion stands on one phrase and it is simply 'DON'T do to someone else what you DON'T want them to do to others'.
I don't say religion is good if you include groups like Scientology and others because some of these people are not part of a religion but a business to make money off their followers and others.Islam is not a religion but a political ideology and we should not confuse the two. Judaism is an all encompassing faith that affects the way you live and view the world. It is a community based religion that starts with the family and how you interact on a very personal level with others both within and outside your family. You have to try your darnest to be compassionate on all levels and honest. Better people than me have studied the texts and lived their lives well and still have unanswered questions, that is why Jews are known for asking lots of questions about anything and everything. We are stubborn and we argue with G-D, ourselves and everyone because that is the nature of daily discourse. To question and to find answers.
The Gerrer Rebbe to name one Jewish sage forbids his followers from making extravagant celebrations like weddings and bar mitzvahs and there are funds set up within Jewish communities to assist the unfortunate or the less fortunate with food and the like because the philosophy is why should a few have much and the rest starve. That is not the way the Jewish faith operates and G-D gives the responsibility of wealth to those who will use it best and it is a requirement of every Jew to give Tzedaka or charity. There is much less corruption in the Jewish community than there is in the communities outside. I am sure some Christian communities do have similar but then it is based on Judaism. Christianity comes from Judaism. But also Christianity requires that their community members do believe in JC and Christian faith too. Judaism recognises who is Jewish and even if they do not believe in Orthodox Judaism they are treated with respect and as a human being.
By the way I wish I could work more, but I was left damaged by the events of NSW and my life was torn apart. It is very hard to get up on your feet when ostracised by your family, your profession ripped away from you and you have been bullied and bullied to save the pride of one principal who was incompetent in dealing with his staff and management issues.
Religion and faith help me but the struggle is not over and I am in very severe financial straits that I cannot see my way out of at present. G-D has reasons for everything and maybe I am an example of what workplace bullying can do to people..

Ilana said...

By the way your new picture is intersting. It is sort of Arabian nights mysterious.