President Donald Trump has wished Happy New Year to his “supporters, haters, enemies and fake news.” And his ‘Rocket Man’ North Korean ‘enemy’ Kim Jong Un has said the “nuclear button is always on my desk” with all the US territories within range of his rockets.
Sounds like New Year resolutions of two heads of state, men who can turn 2018 into the Year of the Dead. That could spell the end of the Gregorian calendar, a Pope set time to, and New Year itself.
So, why does the human race celebrate New Year, all around of the world? At 10.35 am, Indian Standard Time, Times Square in New York, frigid cold with people swaddled in bundles, burst out in a roar. And thousands jammed in tiers of woollen sang out ‘Happy New Year America’, a good 10 plus hours after India rang in 2018.
John Lennon’s Imagine and all the insecure stood together to take on Time’s vagaries. In unity we trust, God Save America! To that add ‘God Save the World’. A group of around 50 New Yorkers played ‘Holler ‘n Foller’, hollering at the top of the voice and following it up with bottoms up!
But at the back of their minds was the terror attacks of recent days. The New York’s finest – the NYPD – had them covered with sniffer dogs capable of sniffing out a suicide bomber from a crowd of 50,000!
India “pubbed” with no mojo to it, afraid that a rogue spark will burst into nasty flames. 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro had gutted confidence, stemmed euphoria, chiselled enthusiasm.
So why do people celebrate New Year when that shift in time from 11.59 to 00.00 passes off in a fleeting second, unremarkable, nothing significant? Why is the start of New Year so important? Why do people – white, black brown, red, yellow and every shade under the sky – all the world’s people celebrate? There is nothing profoundly meaningful to the shift in time, or is there?
We make New Year resolutions – I will be a better person in 2018. I’ll lose weight. I’ll kick the cigarette butt. I’ll not be the subject of a #metoo moment. I’ll eat well, exercise daily and stay healthy. I’ll not drink and drive.
The New Year Resolution Expert said 88 percent of humans end up breaking resolutions within the month. That is because they do not plan, don’t have a strategy or the patience or are lazy, maybe simply liars.
That still doesn’t explain why people get up and walk out and go to pubs and public squares and burn dollars and rupees to ring in the New Year.
The answer to why human beings make a song and dance of New Year is the uncertainty of death stalking, catching up, which it surely will. We don’t want that. So we celebrate surviving one year and we make resolutions to survive another.
Living healthier, better, longer is a universal goal. People want more control over their lives so that can survive. And because we’re social animals we celebrate New Year together. We go to public squares and bars and pubs. We lose inhibitions and dance and prance. In our mind the thought that all will be good for the next one year at least.
“Resolutions give us the pretense of control over the future. Everywhere, New Year’s is a moment to consider our weaknesses and how we might reduce the vulnerabilities they pose,” says David Ropeik, Harvard instructor and risk communication consultant.
But our lives are shaped as much by our decisions as they are by governments and heads of states. The likes of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump and Xi Jingping and Vladimar Putin and Gen. Bajwa even Narendra Modi lend an uncertainty to a New Year. So, one more year lived life to the full and the fervent desire to live another year life to the full call for celebration to insecure humans.