Safe Celebration

UNDOUBTEDLY, more East Ohioans will be eating sauerkraut and pork Tuesday and Wednesday than any other time of the year as they prepare for a new beginning in a new year.

Considering the varied nationalities that make up the melting pot in this area, black-eyed peas, lentils and pickled herring also might be popular.

The new year definitely is a time to celebrate, but area residents don’t celebrate quite as much as the ancient Babylonians who are credited with having the first observances of a new year. Their celebrations were in mid-March about 4,000 years ago, and they definitely outdid modern-day celebrants as their new year observances lasted 11 days.

It wasn’t until Julius Caesar came along that Jan. 1 was designated as New Year’s Day.

Caesar made a great selection, because January is named for the Roman god Janus. Old coins shows him looking forward and backward, and he symbolizes a break between the old and the new.

Earlier, the Romans had observed the new year in late March. (Caesar made a change to Jan. 1 when establishing the Julian Calendar; he didn’t steer away from March because he wasn’t familiar with the soothsayer’s warning, “Beware the Ides of March.”)

REGARDLESS of when New Year’s Day is observed, it’s a good time to turn over a new leaf and rid oneself of old, detrimental habits.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessary, but it’s a good idea to try to do better with improvements in the new year such as losing weight, getting out of debt, being more organized, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol and not talking or texting on a cell phone when driving.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be special times for celebration, but we hope it’ll be a safe one for everyone, thus contributing much to ensuring a happy new year!