2006 Skelly Family Holiday Website
Christmas in Carolina!

"These Wonderful Things .. We'll Remember All Through Our Lives"

Fast away the old year passes ...
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
  Stop/start the music
It is said that New Year's is the oldest of all holidays, first observed in ancient Babylon 4000 years ago. By the time the sun goes down on New Year's Day I generally feel like I've been in on all of them.

"Auld Lang Syne" is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the New Year.

January 1 has no astronomical or agricultural significance as the starting point for the new year; the date is purely arbitrary. The beginning of spring, the season of rebirth, would be probably a more logical time to start a new year. But back in the times when agrarian endeavors were the focus of life, this is when everybody had time on their hands and were already depressed as hell and in need of a party, what with the days so short and the nights so cold. As good a time as any for a new beginning. (For faithful readers, this is covered ground.)

It will come as a surprise to no one that the early Church regarded New Year's festivities as pagan, until they figured out a) it wasn't going away, and b) they could morph it into a religious observance, thereby co-opting it. Inexplicably, they decided to use it for the observance of Christ's Circumcision. One would love to know the original thinking behind that one and just how much of a sense of irony the early Church fathers had developed.

In any event, January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.

This year, special thanks go out to the good people of Boise St., who made it impossible to retire early on the one night of the year I really didn't need to stay up late.

New Year's Eve began for us on the banks of the Potomac, at the home of the Father of our Country. That was pretty temperate. We stopped off to visit Mount Vernon on our way up to ring in the New Year with old friends in Washington, D.C. It was there in our nation's capital where things started going downhill. (Well, the Virginia suburbs actually).

But we started off the next day, reasonably early, with Bloody Marys, and once you get your sense of balance back and feeling returns to your tongue, well, things kind of fall into a groove.

Tracey joined us on the ride up but spent the time in Maryland, just outside Annapolis, with a schoolmate, doing God knows what. At her age, we know not to ask. She was in horse country, but she didn't ride. Horses make her nervous, and she does the same to them. We picked her up Tuesday on our way back out of town.

The other two had already returned to their respective domains in Florida and California to engage in their regional rituals. But they're sure to be heard from in the New Year. And it will undoubtedly be expensive. Year in, year out, the good things in life don't change.

Hope the New Year treats you kindly, puts love in your heart, food on your table and money in your pocket. You find yourself with some spare change, come pay us a visit in Charlotte. Whenever you get here, we'll probably still be celebrating.

Visit http://wilstar.com/holidays/newyear.htm for more on the history of New Year's celebrations. It even has a fuller version of of this recording of "Auld Lang Syne," for those of you not driven mad by background music on websites.

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