As we say good-bye to the old year and prepare to welcome whatever the new one brings our way, it only makes sense to want to mark the transition in some way. Some of us do that by throwing a party or making a list of New Year’s resolutions for the year to come. However, it’s important to understand that these aren’t the only ways to ring in the New Year with style.
Ritual, in particular, is a great way for you to symbolically make the transition for a number of reasons. Rituals help lend an air of importance to an event. They can help remind us that we’re part of a bigger picture. They’re also wonderful ways to connect on a deeper level with those closest to us, including ourselves. Consider adding one of the following ideas to your own plans for ushering in 2017.
Privately reevaluate the past year
Many people tend to focus only on what’s ahead when it comes to New Year’s Day. However, others find it just as important and therapeutic to review the year that’s just concluded. That said, schedule a block of time prior to New Year’s Day when you can sit down by yourself and spiritually evaluate 2016.
What did you accomplish this past year? Take a moment to honor each accomplishment as well as examine any deviation from your 2016 plans. What did you do this past year that you’d never done before? What new things did you learn and what challenges did you face? End by writing a list or a journal entry detailing the top ten highlights of the year as a whole.
Arrange a day to declutter your life
Did you know that, in Italy, people throw things out of the windows on New Year’s Eve? It’s because they feel it’s just as important to get rid of old things that no longer serve them as it is to embrace new things.
Of course, no one is suggesting that you throw your clutter out the window into the street. However, you might want to consider setting aside one day to get rid of some things you no longer need. Go through your home and collect clothing, books, or other items that you can stand to part with and give them a new lease on life by donating them to a local charity.
Formally invite prosperity into your life
Many cultures around the world celebrate New Year’s Day with rituals meant to ward off bad luck and attract good fortune. Some start the New Year by physically throwing money through their front door the first time they enter their home after the new year has begun. Here’s a modern twist on that tradition.
Gather your family and bless a few coins or paper bills together. Formal prayer is a great way to do this, but, if you’re not religious, stating your hopes for the year to come works fine as well. What you do with that money after that is up to you. You can keep it yourself, but it might be even nicer to give it away to charity as a wonderful way to spiritually pay it forward.
Spend New Year’s Eve in meditation
Planning a quiet New Year’s Eve at home for a change? Spend it in quiet meditation or prayer as a way to start the year in peace and harmony. Make sure you arrange for your meditation time to extend past midnight. It’s the perfect way to not only start a brand new year but end an old one.
You can also do this with others if you prefer. Invite friends over and do it together. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a local meet-up group, yoga center, or spiritual organization and make arrangements.
Place special emphasis on the first twelve days
For many people, the first twelve days of a new year represent each of the twelve months to come. (The first day represents January, the second February, and so forth.) Pay homage to this idea by spending those twelve days focused on what you most want your year to hold.
Interested in being more charitable this year? Spend one of the days volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Want to become more sensitive to issues that affect other races or immigrants? Dedicate one or two of those days to reading a regional history book on immigrants or other ethnic groups in your area. Anything goes, so feel free to be creative!