Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ruth's Calendar--- Happy New Year

Happy new Year --- I hear that quite a bit all through the year. There is the Chinese New Year Gung Hay Fat Cho, Hebrew New Year L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem, Viet Namese New Year, so I am posting the year calendar as defined by Ruth.

The NEW YEAR is a time of reflection, preparation, cleaning, planning for a new start, the new year. All those things happen for me in September.

It follows the fluctuation of the patterns of the moon, my own bio-system, weather, planting seasons, life experiences and people that influenced me.

My New Year like the Jewish New Year is September. As mentioned above this is not a particular date but fluctuates:

Here are the Jewish New Year dates for 5 years according to the Georgian Calendar.
Jewish Year 5769: sunset September 29, 2008 - nightfall October 1, 2008
Jewish Year 5770: sunset September 18, 2009 - nightfall September 20, 2009
Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 8, 2010 - nightfall September 10, 2010
Jewish Year 5772: sunset September 28, 2011 - nightfall September 30, 2011
Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 16, 2012 - nightfall September 18, 2012

and Ruth's calendar also changes on a different date each year. Ruth's beginning of preparations for the New Years starts with the end of Labor Day weekend. Because a gating issue on Ruth's New year is the beginning of the school year. Preparation and celebrating the Ruth New Year is the following practices:

1--Cleaning the children's closets in preparation for new school clothes,
2--Setting up study areas for school work. Lots of Bible studies, interest group meetings, craft and cooking classes begin now also. The logic being summer vacation are complete. People will be settled to enjoy a new "start" of learning.
3-- Winterizing the home. Chalk the windows, clean the heater filters, bring in the patio furniture, covering the plants from frost.
4.--- remove debris, sweep up the leaves, clean the gutters,

Clean---to make room for the new!

and the New Year is complete when you plant the bulbs! Bulb planting day is truly a special day for Ruth.
Bulb planting day is Ruth's NEW YEAR's DAY.
To put to rest the seeds that will signify the next growth. the next life if you will. This follows a belief similar of God lying us to rest peacefully as we await our "new life".

The day after planting the bulbs I rest. I imagine my garden blooming in early spring. I look forward to seeing the results of my planting of the bulbs.

In honor of the Jewish (Old Testament) holiday,I eat apples dipped in honey, a symbol of a wish for a sweet new year.

In honor of the Italian farmers, I sip Lambrusco and spill a bit of the wine on my flowerbed. There is a sense of tradition, gratitude and faith in these small actions.

Another practice of the holiday practiced by the Jewish is Tashlikh ("casting off"). They walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off their sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom.

Another version of this practice, not Jewish yet symbolic of casting off, is the burning bowl. On a sheet of paper place your thoughts on sins, unforgiving, burdens, strive. Start a fire (symbolic of purification by fire). Remove the slips of paper from your pockets. Place the paper in the fire to be burnt and sent to ashes.

The bulbs have been set, the next day was spent honoring the new year and releasing the past.

This is followed by the final preparations for Christmas. I strive to be done by Halloween. All the decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are brought forth, reviewed and enjoyed. All gifts are purchased and wrapped minus the last ribbon tops. The ribbon tops seldom look fresh by Dec 25 if added in October.

Why Halloween?? Because Halloween was my grandson Willy's favorite holiday. And in truth the start of Will and my very busy time. Will looked forward to Halloween much like most children looked forward to Christmas. I wanted to be finished, relaxed to accommodate Willy with his enthusiasm.

Which places us immediately into Thanksgiving and my birthday. A time of personal gratitude and reflection.

Taking time to cherish and being grateful for my life, friends, and simple abundance.

And now December --- Birthdays in my family abound in October to December. and although we do not get together for each and every birthday-- I do reflect and choose to honor the day with my mindful presence. Being stress free from Christmas shopping, Christmas preparations allows me this luxury. Allows me to enjoy and celebrate my friends and myself in very special ways.

Being stress free allows me to focus on the celebrating of Jesus' birth. Tony and I attend church celebrations, special music programs, and enjoy all the celebrating going on around us. November and December is also a great time to plant the most important seeds of all. The seeds of kindness to others. With just a little bit of effort and a willingness to be open, you will find an opportunity for planting seeds during this season. Seeds of charity, seeds of HOPE, seeds for a new year.

Sharing at the Senior Center:

The first year I decided to be more mindful of Christmas celebrations, was the first year I saw the huge colorful ornaments in the mall. Was the first year I took time to sit and enjoy the school children singing in the mall, was the first year I went to San Francisco and walked floor by floor looking at the huge tree and it's decorations at the Newman Marcus. Taking time to sip tea on the top floor. And time to Thank God for all that I have.

I do still purchase gifts during these months but not with the mad rush as in years previously. Now it is with a blessed calm and true appreciation of the items purchased.

So that is Ruth's calendar approximately end of August to 24 December. It is the time to plant the seeds, the bulbs, the plans, the future. Planning, preparing and planting needs to be accomplished first, at the first of your year. I plant for that which I wish to sow in the new year.

Next season in Ruth calendar is the season of HOPE. The season of HOPE begins on Christmas EVE!!

I will post the SEASON OF HOPE in the next blog.

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