Of course, not everyone wants to be a slave to time. When reaching retirement age, one of the delights to look forward to is not HAVING to get up at a certain time but then find we do get up. Is that our body clock controlling us just like the business world or our place of employment did? In retirement, we expect to be free to do as we want. But are we? There are medical appointments to attend, public transport to catch. Even the enjoyable activities come with a sting in their tail. They are on certain days at a specific time. Time is so controlling.
My parents, like so many others, loved to welcome the New Year. It was a sort of ritual. My siblings and I could seldom stay awake, so we would go to bed. My mother would waken us shortly before midnight. We would sit around the fire drowsily watching the clock on the mantelpiece. My father would have turned on the wireless to the BBC Radio Station and we would all wait patiently for midnight.
Our mantle clock would slowly, slowly tick off the seconds, but it was the chiming of Big Ben that bade farewell to the Old Year and hailed in the New Year. As the peals of that famous clock rang out over London and through the airwaves to Ireland, it seemed to assure my parents that all was well. There could be no mistake; it was definitely the New Year. Then I would thankfully go back to my bed.
On arising the next morning, it would still be a cold, damp, miserable winter’s day, just the same as before, 31st December. Nothing had changed.
I still can’t understand why there is such a fuss about welcoming in the New Year.
Anyway, when is it really New Year’s Day? Because of daylight saving, people on the Gold Coast have a double bite of the cherry, if it can be called that. The crowds go across the border to Tweed Heads, NSW, to celebrate the New Year, then return to Coolangatta in Queensland for a second round of celebrating.
There was the Julian calendar, but in 1582 Pope Gregory XII decided he would publish a better one, namely the Gregorian calendar, and so dates changed. When I was young, we celebrated Christmas Day on the 25 December, but we had another celebration on the 6th January. We called that one “Little Christmas”. After that date the Christmas tree and the decorations could be taken down.
The Julian and Gregorian calendars are based on the solar system, but the natural rhythms of our bodies, the oceans and seasons, are controlled by the lunar system. It wouldn’t suit the business world if our day to day and month to month activities were controlled by the moon – far to changeable! I expect it would suit them better if Easter occurred at the same time every year.
Our man-made calendars could cause unrest in the world, with people feeling they are being pulled this way or that way, not being sure if they are Arthur or Martha.