Tomorrow night we'll have our un-trim the tree party. All decorations will be tucked away in crawl spaces and at the bottom of closets. On Saturday the Christmas season officially ends...liturgically. Never mind that valentines are already being displayed in local stores, we're still singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"...we live in two calendar worlds!
I use to wonder how odd it must be for the Jewish community to proclaim two different years and seemly to operate with two different calendars. Then I realized that my life is the same...and that many people of faith have a similar dual time anomaly. We acknowledged New Year's on January 1, 2008, but our other new year began on a different day....last December 2nd with the First Sunday of Advent.
Today is the beginning of the Islamic New Year, Muharram, A.H. 1429---calculated from the time Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina. The new Jewish year, 5766, began last September 12th. The Chinese Lantern Festival will kick off the year of the rat, the year 4076, on February 7th. The Buddhist and Hindu religions have New Year's celebrations also. Though they vary by country, they generally follow the coming of spring in the lunar cycles.
P.S. This end of the Christmas season also brings a return to what is liturgically referred to as ordinary or feria time. Ha, ha, we shall see! As if there is anything really "ordinary" about our days!