Education column: Prepare to celebrate new year

New Years: A holiday uniquely shared around the globe; we await the clock striking 12, and then, in unison — in whatever meridian we happen to be located — we shout, cheer, perhaps imbibe bubbly beverages, accompanied by an array of noise-makers and fireworks celebrations, for the arrival of a New Year’s beginning.

Whether we doze off early or go out to celebrate, it’s sometimes a struggle figuring out what to do for kids who are tuned in to all the excitement. Here are some ideas to try:

http://familyfun.go.com/new-years/ — for New Year’s crafts to make, like paper noisemakers, confetti balloons and wands, party hats, recipes, celebrations, and more.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/newyear/ — crafts projects for preschool through elementary with New Year’s projects.

• Miscellaneous: Host a New Year’s Eve movie-thon at home and show age appropriate movie series. For example, the three Toy Story movies or the series of the Star Wars sagas.

Create a time capsule with your family, with special items collected by your kids throughout the year, including souvenirs from important events or special activities; include photos, newspaper headlines, make recordings to listen to at the end of next year.

In fact, celebrating the changing of the old year into the new year is one of the very oldest of holidays, although the actual date it was celebrated has bounced around a good bit over the years.

Even today it is celebrated on a different dates in cultures who do not use the Julian calendar. For those of us who do, our new year begins on Jan. 1. The mythical Roman king, Janus, (for whom the month is named) supposedly had two faces and could gaze on past events at the same time as he looked toward the future.

In 153 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Roman Senate in order to reset the calendar let the old year continue for 445 days, sometimes known as the “Year of Confusion.”

Thereafter, the calendar years of those using the Julian calendar have contained 365 days.

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is also very old and can be traced back to the Babylonians four thousand years ago, whose two most common resolutions were, “to pay off outstanding debts and to return all borrowed farming tools and household utensils,” according to “Panati’s Extraordinary Origin of Everyday Things.”

Although the symbolic use of a baby for the brand new year can be traced back to 600 B.C. Greece, its commonly used imagery of today, that of a baby in diaper with a New Year’s banner, originated in Germany in the 14th Century and was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants.

(http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New_Years_Resolutions.shtml) reports that some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions continue. Among them: Get a better education; get a better job; lose weight and get fit; manage stress; manage debt; quit smoking; quit drinking, and volunteer to help others.

At Clovis Municipal Schools, we certainly embrace and support the “get a better education” resolution.

A very Happy New Year to all.