2018 Goals

I don’t have any 2018 goals to be honest. I just wanted to set that out straight away so you’re not disappointed. I’m one of those terrible people who never set New Year’s resolutions.

I don’t have any particular problem with them. I just think that if you want to make some change, you don’t need to wait for a particular point in time to start. And if it’s a big change, it’s probably better to ease into it, rather than making a sudden change. The word goal though, is somewhat interesting to me.

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Little Christmas

In most Christian traditions, today is the last day of Christmas. The most common name for this day is The Epiphany (meaning a moment of sudden realisation or revelation). It’s so called because it was believed to be the day that Jesus revealed his divinity, when the three magi arrived to see him.

As well as religious celebrations, the day is marked in different ways around the world. If you’re lucky enough to be Spanish or Italian, you might get extra gifts on 5th or 6th January. Despite the various traditions throughout Continental Europe though, in the UK and Ireland, we don’t do too much to celebrate the end of Christmas, unless you count taking down the tree and decorations. For most people here, the Christmas period lasts until New Year’s Day, and then life for most people goes back to normal. At least when I was a child the school holidays didn’t end until the 6th (although that changed a few years ago) and I could still enjoy the first few days of January playing with my new toys, though there was always a creeping dread as it got closer to going-back-to-school time.

In the past though, the Epiphany was quite a big deal. Continue reading

2017

So here it is, 2017. Hopefully it’s the start of a great year for you. Hopefully none of your favourite celebrities die (but statistically, some probably will). Hopefully if you’re living in Trump’s American or in Post-Brexit Britain, things aren’t too hard for you.

Typically of course, I’m most interested in how you actually say the name of this year. Is it “twenty seventeen,” or “two thousand and seventeen?” Or even “two thousand seventeen,” if you’re American. For me, there’s no hesitation: Continue reading

Auld Lang Syne

You might end up singing Auld Lang Syne tonight, and like a lot of people wonder, what it means, or even if it’s an English phrase. Well, it is, though strictly it’s Scots, as written by the great Scottish poet Robert “Rabbie” Burns in 1788.

The title can be translated into standard English as old long since, or long long ago, meaning that the song is about remembering long-held friendships. Which might seem like a strange song for such a forward-looking night as New Year’s Eve, but I think it’s an appropriately melancholy way to say goodbye to a year. Continue reading