When I was very young, January the 2nd was the saddest day of the year. The Christmas tree was stripped bare of its ornaments and colorful lights and left by the curb to be picked up and converted to mulch and compost. The party was over and everybody had to go back to school and back to work and plow through the next 11 plus months until we could do it again. That first day was always a reality check and a crash from the previous two weeks high.
But it’s been a long time since I was young. Things are now quite the opposite. The older I get, the happier I am when January the second arrives. Last night was New Year’s Eve and all over Costa Rica, from the cities of the Central Valley to the coastal beaches, on remote farms and highland villages, there were festivities– food, drink, music, karaoke, dancing, general noise, and of course fireworks. I was awakened from a sound sleep by so many fireworks at once that I knew it was midnight.
That’s right– I was in bed asleep by 10pm. I came to the beach to be a dogsitter so that my daughter could go off to Panama with friends and celebrate the new year like I did before I got jaded. It was likely all my years in the tourist and hospitality biz here in Costa Rica that corrupted me and turned me into a New Yearś Scrooge.
For fifteen years, from running a tour company to running a bar to running baked goods, the Christmas- New Year’s period was the hardest, with long work days, throngs of people, no days off, and a running clock in my head counting down the days, hours, minutes until January 2nd, which, if it wasn’t the end of the rush at least meant the worst was over.
Money was made but that block of time on the calendar was always anticipated with dread and resignation– the opposite feeling I had as a child. I understand the celebration. A chance to start fresh, leave bad habits behind and embrace the positive. Make resolutions.
We all welcome the opportunity for rebirth and renewal. The trick is to carry that rush of the new year momentum forward. Annually, there are 26 different New Year’s celebrations worldwide. They are dotted throughout the calendar year, falling in the months of January through April and September through November.
If you’re flexible with your cultures and beliefs, you could celebrate New Year’s 26 different times! More than two dozen dates you could mark on the calendar, plan around and use to promise yourself a fresh start! In Costa Rica, some say Feliz Año Nuevo, some say Prospero Año Nuevo.
Some wish you to be happy, and some wish you to be successful and make money. I’ll take both, thank you. So Feliz and Prospero Año Nuevo from the New Year’s scrooge! Bah humbug, I’m glad it is all done with for another year and letś get on with 2024*.
* For followers of the Gregorian Calendar