Most people in the Western world associate January 1st as the beginning of the New Year. They must be bananas!
Yet in reality, the use of any particular date for the beginning of the New Year is an arbitrary choice. This is because a year is the time it takes for Planet Earth to circle the Sun and there is no place on a circle that offers a natural starting point. As a result, around the world, the New Year is celebrated on many different days.
As might be expected, the choice of these particular days goes back into antiquity and is often interwoven with religious stories. True to form, the Christian tradition offers a particularly odd justification for January 1 being the chosen date for the New Year; this is the day that baby Jesus had his foreskin cut off, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ.
Now, if the feast of the foreskin doesn’t float your boat, you might consider a different New Year’s day to celebrate, maybe something that is contemporary and sustainable, such as Eearth New Year.
Eearth New Year is 16 July, and the minute that signifies the end of one annual cycle and the beginning of the next is 9.29 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
So, what is the significance of 9.29 pm on 16 July?
Eearth seeks to help focus Western culture on sustainability and happiness and this is achieved by an integrated system of belief, knowledge & practice devoted the cause. As such, Eearth celebrations are aligned to events that allow for narratives that resonate with the needs of our era. One particular need is for the public to understand what we are doing to the planet and what are the consequences of these actions.
July 16 is significant because it is the date of the first ever nuclear bomb test – in New Mexico, USA in 1945.
Ironically, the event’s official title is the Trinity Bomb Test. Trinity is named after a poem by John Donne about the Holy Trinity. This simply goes to show how deeply Christian tradition has penetrated our society – we even name nuclear explosions after it…
Anyway, the event is significant for Eearth because the Trinity bomb test is one of the instances that have been flagged as the potential beginning of the Anthropocene Era.
For those not yet in the know, we humans are now the main driving force of change on the surface of this planet, and geologists have decided to name a new geological era after us: the Anthropocene. The short video below explains nicely.
It is not certain if the Trinity test will be selected as the official beginning of the Anthropocene – that decision could be a few years away. So, until such time as the official agreement about the Anthropocene is resolved, 16 July is regarded as Eearth’s Interim New Year – subject to change, if necessary.
It is fitting to align the Eearth New Year with the beginning of the Anthropocene Era, as Eearth seeks to help foster the creation of a subsequent era, where humans are in balance with nature. Eearth calls this back-in-sync – indicated by the Eearth People wearing halos. Halos have been used in artwork for thousands of years to indicate enlightenment; and enlightenment is something that our culture desperately needs, today.
On Eearth New Year, it is planned to hold parties all around the world to celebrate the solar cycle, to acknowledge the Anthropocene and how we ought to behave in order that we avoid the worst of the banquet of consequences that we have ‘baked in’ to our future. It is also a time for merriment, laughter and being happy, despite our grim predicament. That’s the Eearth Discipline, you see.
Other Eearth celebrations include the Full Moons, the Solstices and Equinoxes. See more detail on the Eearth website <e-e-a-r-t-h.org>.
Become Eearth People today, and maybe we can enjoy New Years for the Long Future.
Eearth is the philosophy of sustainability fiction writer, Guy Lane.
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