Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Years Eve, Old Rituals & New Beginnings!

Celebrations are used to mark significant dates and occasions and New Year’s Eve is certainly no new face to the party! In fact, the celebration of Winter Solstice and the beginning of the New Year is one of the oldest celebrations. For most westerners, that day of celebration has evolved and moved from the original dates of December 21st/22nd to the beginning of the Gregorian calendar, January 1st. Other cultures celebrate the New Year on various dates throughout the year. However, even with all the diversity there are some underlying themes across all cultures. The New Year is seen as a time to set things straight, wash the slate clean and reflect. It is a time to say out with the old and in with the new!

In recognition of the many symbols and rituals used to usher in the New Year, this arrangement has
been carefully and thoughtfully created.  A golden rectangular container serves as the base of the design to represent the prosperity of the New Year. Evergreen foliage is used to symbolize everlasting life and to ward off evil.  It also creates a lush bed for the arrangement. Candles are used by many cultures to symbolize life and drive away darkness. The smoke from the candle also represents thoughts and prayers in many cultures.  A garland of cranberries twined with red string or yarn is usually used by The American Indians as a symbol of peace. The berry is also used for its healing properties.  The beautiful deep red of the cranberries is further enhanced by the use of a fresh pomegranate which has been opened to show its seeds. The pomegranate is a powerful symbol of prosperity, it also represents knowledge, learning and wisdom in many cultures.   In Greek mythology, the seeds of the pomegranate are present in some of the stories about the changing of the seasons from winter to spring. A cluster of grapes is placed in the arrangement to represent the Spanish practice of placing 12 grapes in a glass of wine or champagne to toast your guests at midnight. As the wine is drunk the grapes are eaten one at a time, each representing a month of the New Year, a wish is made for each grape as it is eaten. White roses, a symbol of purity and honesty lend their elegance to the display. Stems of wheat are added as they are a symbol of love and charity as well as to guard against conceit. A flourish of ivy to the right invokes the Celtic symbolism of connections and friendships. Ever intertwining, the ivy is an example of the twists and turns our friendships take but also a testimony to the long-lasting connections and bonds we form with our friends that last over the years. Holly is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil. It also symbolizes reincarnation and rebirth. The springs of rosemary are used to symbolize connection and remembrance. Over-sized glittery butterfly wings create drama and hearken back the symbolism of rebirth and change which is also associated with butterflies. Tucked within the center of the design is a very ancient and mysterious symbol found in architecture, art, and sculpture from the early days of civilization; a pine cone. It has long been associated with the Third Eye, the Mind’s Eye or the Eye of Reason. The pine cone is a fitting symbol for reviewing the past and looking into the future.

Finally, masks have been used over the centuries for many purposes,  in many cultures the mask is a symbol of the things that occurred over the last year that you want to hide. At midnight the mask comes off and a  “New Year’s kiss”  is exchanged. The kiss is a mark of purification and the removal of the bad. So, with the beginning of 2016, take this time to start some awesome personal rituals to celebrate life’s continuance and renewal. Celebrate by gathering with friends and family, share a moment to reflect, enjoy a meal, take off your masks, open your mind’s eye and welcome the New Year with a positive outlook. 


-Blumz by JRDesigns