عدد المساهمات : 37976
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: A Babylonian New Year الخميس 03 أبريل 2014, 11:44 pm|| |
A Babylonian New Year
BY KRISTIN SWENSON
- اقتباس :
And so we’re off!- 2014, a new year, ready or not. Resolutions or not, there’s something about recognizing the end of a year and the beginning of a new one that’s downright refreshing.
The earliest public celebrations that we know about are Babylonian, dating back thousands of years. I’ve been spending a lot of time in ancient Babylon (in my head) these past few years, and it occurs to me that for all our distance from an Iraq of the B.C. years, we share some things in common. Take New Year’s. Sure, there are loads of differences. For one thing, the Akitu New Year festival happened around the time of the spring equinox and went on for days. But at its heart was this sense of putting aside the old and beginning anew with hope and possibility.
There’s a moment during the Akitu celebration in which the king was stripped of his regalia, forced to his knees and (symbolically) beaten by a priest. But then, that was over and done. The king was restored and took the hand of the god (a statue of Marduk) to walk forward in a procession of all the gods as Marduk’s regent in rule for another year. Also during the festival, there was a public reading of the great creation story in which Marduk overcame the forces of chaos to bring productive order to the world. (The Bible, taking shape in this cultural context has some things to say about god-statues in procession , poignantly comparing the Babylonian gods who had to be carried to a living God who does the carrying, and of course about creating order out of chaos, too.)
At the turn of our year, I’m inclined to look back — to see with some happy satisfaction a good memory, accomplishment or the like; but truth is, more often I see my shortcomings, failure of nerve, disappointments in myself. There’s a kind of humiliation in it (even more pronounced by over-doing the whole party at the end). Thank goodness for the new year — to take again the hand of what is good and strong and right and true; fewer french fries more potatoes, less hesitation more courage; to remember (again) that creative energy can make a rich order out of chaos, and that come what may out of all those efforts, the year will turn round again. Reoriented, restored, refreshed.
May you enter 2014 boldly and with good hope and cheer. Happy New Year!