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Fresh Rituals for a New Year

Meditation welcoming in the new year

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The end of one year and the beginning of another marks a hopeful transition that many of us choose to celebrate with fireworks and glitzy parties. Here are several New Year’s rituals to help us connect more deeply to our loved ones, to ourselves and to a richer sense of purpose as we embrace the promise of 2021. 

Reevaluate the past year. While many people focus only on what lies ahead on New Year’s Day, consider taking a therapeutic and spiritual look at the past 12 months, evaluating personal accomplishments and deviations from goals and aspirations. Take note of lessons learned and challenges faced, as well as the top 10 highlights of the year.

Declutter. In Italy, people throw things out of their windows on New Year’s Eve; getting rid of items that are no longer of service is just as important as welcoming the new. In that spirit, this is a good time to gather clothing, books and other items collecting dust and donate them to a local charity where they may be useful to someone else. 

Formally invite prosperity. Many cultures around the world celebrate New Year’s Day with rituals that are meant to ward off bad luck and attract good fortune. Some of them espouse throwing money over the threshold the first time someone enters their home after the new year has begun. Here’s a modern twist: Gather the family together and bless a few coins or paper bills, either through prayer or as a statement of hope and anticipation. Then, donate the money to charity as a way to spiritually pay it forward.

Spend New Year’s Eve in meditation. Quiet meditation or prayer is a great way to usher in a sense of peace and harmony. Make sure the session begins before midnight and extends into the new year. This can be done at home alone, with friends or at a local meet-up group, yoga center or spiritual organization.

Place special emphasis on the first 12 days. For many people, the first 12 days of a new year represent each of the 12 months to come. To set a positive course for 2021, spend each of those days exhibiting aspirations for the coming year, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen to manifest an interest in being more charitable, or reading a book about immigrants to become more culturally sensitive.


Adapted from an Arcadia Publishing contribution. 
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