Sunday, December 25, 2016
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy
by Julie Carter
What do you know about the New Year’s celebration except that it is when you make resolutions you won’t keep? January 1st wasn’t always the day celebrated for New Year’s although recognized as one of the oldest of holidays.
It was first observed in ancient Babylon more than 4000 years ago. Around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23rd. It made more sense in that it was the season of the year that spring began and new crops were planted. January 1st, on the other hand, has no astronomical or agricultural significance, only the turning of a calendar page with a new number for the year denoted.
The Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year and Julius Caesar did the same in 46 BC for the Julian calendar. But it was George Washington who began the custom of holding a party on New Year's Day where everyone was welcome. This became known as having an "open house" and is still done in many places today.
Regional foods help welcome the New Year in various parts of America. In Pennsylvania Dutch country, eating sauerkraut on New Year's Day is said to bring good luck. In the South the custom is to eat black-eyed peas. More often now, people use aspirin and ibuprofen to cure their celebration pain of the night before.
Making resolutions on this first day of the New Year can also be tied to early Babylon. While popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking, the Babylonians most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.
In the cowboy world, resolutions might include a solemn promise to never eat Brussel sprouts, tofu, skinless chicken breasts, anything with spinach in it and certainly not fermented cabbage. Occasionally one hears of a cowboy who has sworn of paying entry fees, but that resolution on lasts until the next rodeo.
On the upside, a rural ranch dweller might dream of swearing off ice breaking, manure shoveling or any horse named Bronc. High on that dream list would be a warm calving season and sleeping longer nights. Next would be no flat tires, pitchfork use and no work that requires a shovel or a mechanics tool box.
Of course all those dream resolutions come because the thought is-- if you are going to make yourself promises you can’t keep, may as well make big ones.
I would like to resolve to be more disciplined with my work, smile more often when I’d really rather not, and first look to find praise for someone or something before I find criticism. I would like to be a better person today than I thought possible yesterday and set a higher standard for tomorrow.
I resolve to not mention the words exercise, diet, or svelte in the same sentence with my name. Health and beauty should be a natural daily process, not a resolution.
I will continue to remind myself that January 1 is the day after December 31 and the day before January 2. Nothing more. I will strive to remember that everyday is a gift, tomorrow is never promised, and that the people in my life are precious.
I live an abundant blessed life and want to never fail to recognize that. But most of all I want to resolve to be resolute-- firm in purpose, belief and unshakeable determination.
May this next year bring to you all of what you need and even some of what you want.
Julie is embracing all of 2017 and can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org