Let’s Move New Year’s Day To Springtime
Why do we choose Jan. 1 as a “Happy New Year” day?
Jan. 1 is in winter, for Pete’s sake!
This past Thursday, we had gloomy gray skies for New Year’s Eve. On Friday, we had freezing rain. Some “happy new year.”
Gloomy skies and freezing rain are nothing to be joyous about.
We ought to celebrate the new year when Mother Nature does, which is in springtime!
So what if some fusty old Romans invented a two-faced god, Janus, and chose his month to be the first calendar month of the new year?
We are not obligated to do what the Romans did. We aren’t even in Rome.
There is a lovely calendar date that would be perfect for New Year’s Day: April 1.
But we perversely name that warmer, softer, greener day “April Fool’s Day.”
Starting a new year in January is silly. So is our perennial bouncing between Eastern Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time.
What is there worth celebrating on a cold, dreary, below-freezing winter day? And why must we eat supper in darkness for months at a time?
It was not always this way.
Back in Roman Empire time, many tribes celebrated the start of a new year in springtime. Things grow in springtime: Crocuses, daffodils, grass. Sensible mammals give birth in springtime, prompted by “in heat” periods and urges.
Not us, though. People and some apes procreate for pleasure and deliver offspring throughout the year. That gives rise to the double-meaning clichÈ, “monkey business.”
It is probably Ben Franklin’s fault that we shiver through a New Year’s Day celebration each January. Franklin became the premier printer in Colonial America. He printed almanacs and calendars. Those documents started each year with the month of January. So, shiver-shiver, we called Jan. 1 “New Year’s Day” on the slim justification that the days start to get longer as we move toward spring.
But Egad! February comes before springtime. So does two-thirds of March, which is still winter. Winter days are infernally short of sunlight and depressingly long on darkness.
And it gets worse. We yank our biorhythms out of shape by flipping between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.
I love Daylight Savings Time. We should stay on it all year around.
The time change that is foolish and annoying occurred back on Nov. 7, when we reinstated the accursed Standard Time. Standard Time in winter has us getting out of bed in darkness, eating supper in darkness, traveling to and from work in darkness and squinting like moles instead of being bright-eyed while going about our business mostly in daylight.
Be like Mother Nature: Start the New Year in springtime!
Brighten our lives even further and stay on Daylight Savings Time all year long!
Florida has petitioned Congress for permission to stay on Daylight Savings Time all year long.
Alas. How likely is Congress to be sensible?
Mark Twain put it best: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
President Trump is no better in this regard. Neither, so far, is President-elect Biden. Nor was former President Obama.
Presidents dilly about COVID and dally about elections. But do they change the start of each new year to springtime? Do they keep us on light-loving Daylight Savings Time all year long?
Those would be sensible steps. I predict that if Congress and President Biden would make those changes this year in February, Facebook would see a huge decrease in the numbers of four-letter words posted concerning political matters.
We would be happier, that’s why!
Our Circadian rhythms would be regularized. By the time we have gotten fully awake and drank our first cup of coffee, merciful coffee, the dark sky will have brightened toward sunrise. As each day ends, lingering sunlight will guide us homeward.
What do we have now? We have a “New Year’s Day” at the bottom of the pit of winter blahs. On January 1, sunrise was at 7:42 a.m. Sunset was at 4:58 p.m. That is just over nine hours of what passes for daylight in this season of gray clouds, sere brown fields and gray leafless woodlots. The remaining 15 hours are dark, dingy, yucky – and, most of the time, cold, slippery, sloppy and dangerous.
If we started the new year on March 20, we would see the sun at 7:18 a.m., a long half-hour early. And the sun would shine on us until 7:30 p.m. That is a full two and a half hours of extra sunshine, because Daylight Savings Time will have begun on March 14.
Begin each new year in springtime! Cavort during daylight, all year long!
With so much added brightness in our lives, we might even get to enjoy Presidential elections.
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.