I wanted to share a variety of ceremonies and customs I have discovered that bring joy and meaning into my life as I prepare for the New Year. I have gleaned these from numerous sources and have even seen them within the story lines of movies including the movie based on the story of "The Painter of Light," Thomas Kinkade.
In the movie about Kinkade there is a scene toward the end where all the neighbors come to help his mother clean and fix up her home when she is about to lose it. A gentleman is sweeping the front porch AND he is sweeping the dirt and dust away from the door toward the yard. The Asian neighbor comes up signaling not to do that as you are "sweeping all the good fortune and money away from the household. You need to sweep the dirt toward the door to sweep the good inside - to keep it, not lose it."
Most people seeing that movie, or that scene, might not even remember that part of the movie. Every time I see it, it reminds me of the many gifts I have received from the various cultures that I use in my life. I know it is important for me to share my knowledge with those willing to learn about it.
This particular ritual of sweeping toward the house is something to do, not just as we are greeting the New Year - although it is a wonderful thing to do - but something to do every time we sweep. For me it brings an added awareness of the many blessings I have right outside my door that I might be letting slip away. I go outside and welcome them into my home and my life.
Along the lines of "cleaning" - now is the time to remove anything that doesn't work or needs repair. Many cultures, including many Asians, will completely clean their home before the new Year in order to have a fresh start. They also will pay off all debts - or at least as many as they can.
Starting off the New Year as debt-free as possible makes me feel lighter. Sometimes I've only been able to pay off a small debt, whether it happens to be a credit card, medical bill or services to a supplier or consultant. Every year since I started this tradition, it makes me feel lighter and I experience more abundance throughout the year in monetary and non-monetary ways.
Another ritual I do for the New Year is to use up and/or remove all leftovers from my refrigerator. We don't want to start the New Year ingesting the old energy. We want to start fresh, so start with all fresh foods in you home. (I just finished shopping for all mine a few hours ago.)
This holds true especially with the "staples" of our lives. The staples are considered to be sugar, salt, flour and rice. If you have opened bags of these, try to use them up before the New Year. If you can't use them up, pass them on to people you know can use them.
In the tradition, if you pass on your "abundance" of the basic foods needed in life, you are passing on a gift of your love, caring and abundance. If you have unopened bags, please donate them to charitable organizations that feed the hungary.
These are just a few of the things we as good stewards can do to increase our own awareness of the many riches we have in our lives of which we take for granted. At the same time we are learning about other cultures and the ceremonies, rituals and customs they have that enrich their lives. This awareness awakens the spirit of giving, love and peace in our hearts and our lives.
I hope these suggestions stir in you and stimulate a desire to try at least one of them, bringing new awareness to this special time of year. For some this is the end of an old, and possibly not very good, year. Let go of the old thoughts and habits - start some new ones.
Here's to a very Happy New Year!