Monday, 31 December 2012


A not-very-clear iPad snap - signs of new life!

Old English neoweniowe, earlier niwe "new, fresh, recent, novel, unheard-of, different from the old; untried, inexperienced," from P.Gmc. *newjaz (cf. Old Saxon niuwi, Old Frisian nie, Middle Dutch nieuwe, Dutch nieuw, Old High German niuwl, German neu, Danish and Swedish ny, Gothic niujis "new"), from PIE *newo- "new" (cf. Sanskrit navah, Persian nau, Hittite newash, Greek neos, Lithuanian naujas, Old Church Slavonic novu, Russian novyi, Latin novus, Old Irish nue, Welsh newydd "new").  (Online Etymology Dictionary)

It often strikes me that the calendar, if we look at it creatively, is very kind in offering several chances of celebrating the start of a new year. Some believe the Celtic year began on 1November, the  Church's liturgical year begins on Advent Sunday, and (again according to the invaluable Online Etymology Dictionary):

"c.1300; "þer þay dronken & dalten ... on nwe gerez euen."  The Julian calendar began on January 1, but the Christian Church frowned on pagan celebrations of this and chose the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) as its New Year's Day. The civic year in England continued to begin January 1 until late 12c., and even though legal documents then shifted to March 25, popular calendars and almanacs continued to begin on January 1. The calendar reform of 1751 restored the Julian New Year. New Year's was the main midwinter festival in Scotland from 17c., when Protestant authorities banned Christmas, and continued so after England reverted to Christmas, hence the Scottish flavor ("Auld Lang Syne," etc.). New Year's gathering in public places began 1878 in London, after new bells were installed in St. Paul's."

So... new, fresh, recent, novel, unheard-of, different from the old; untried, inexperienced.  Which resonates with you? Which draws you as a watchword for the new year about to begin?

A happy and bright one to you and yours, however (and whenever) you celebrate it!


  1. I'd go for elements from all of those words myself. Happy New Year to you!


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