Life starts all over again . . .

. . . when it gets crisp in the fall.  

That’s a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic “The Great Gatsby.” When polled, most Americans pick fall as their favorite season and October as their favorite month. But, what’s this business about life starting all over again? What is there possibly about fall that could feel like a new beginning? The hummingbirds have disappeared in search of warmer weather. The leaves will soon change color and fall off the trees. The natural world is preparing for the sleep of winter. Fall is the beginning of the end, if anything, right? 

According to the Gregorian calendar, the same one we use to know what day it is and schedule meetings, January 1st is the start of a new year. Close to the beginning of winter.  Most of the world observes January 1 as a collective beginning. But, that particular day is not the only new year. 

February 1st, 2022, will be the first day of the Chinese Year of the Tiger. This observance is also known as the lunar new year because it falls on the day of the new moon between January 21 and February 20. 

In India, the New Year depends on several factors — whether a person is following the Hindi solar calendar or the Hindi lunar calendar for one, and the region of India in which a person lives, for another.  For some communities in Northern India, Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is celebrated as the start of a year. 

The Jewish culture celebrates the New Year at Rosh Hashanah, a two-day event marking the beginning of the lunar month of Tishri in the Jewish calendar, another event determined by the new moon. The most recent Rosh Hashanah began in the evening of September 6, 2021.

The Celtic New Year is Samhain, the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the start of the new year. This always coincides with the day we more commonly call “Halloween” and continuing into the following day, November 1st, what Christians call “All Saints Day.” 

Many modern pagans mark the passage of time with the wheel of the year and its eight seasonal festivals or sabbats, including the four major solar events — the two solstices, and two equinoxes. These include Samhain, and although many will use this Celtic observance as the start of a new year, part of the beauty of the Wheel of the Year is that it shows the continuous turning of time thus making no day and every day the beginning of a new year.

Beginnings are possible at any time. Each morning can be a new beginning.  Each moment, even.  If you are one of the many who love fall and come a bit more alive in September and October, then you understand how something feels like it’s beginning at this time of year. So, on with the pumpkin spice and on with the hoodies and on with the autumn decor. Let the holiday planning begin. Mark the calendar with travel dates.  

The equinox has passed and taken summer with it. Fall is here, the air is crisp, and life starts all over again. 

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