As we celebrated the New Year on January 1, following a date choice made by the Roman Senate in 153 B.C, made mandatory by Julius Ceasar in 46 B.C., we must wonder why? What is special about this proclamation that has made it stick with us for more than a couple of thousand years?
Here are some reasons that come to mind regarding why we celebrate January 1, the beginning of the New Year:
- Who doesn’t want a cause for celebration in the dead of winter?
- A desire for a fresh start; to take stock. Cover the tracks of the past and lay a path for the future.
- To reminisce about the time gone by; Say a toast to the memories.
- To challenge ourselves; create new year’s resolutions that improve us, at least make us feel good about ourselves.
- To renew hope; Recharge ourselves with the thoughts that the future will be better. This is even truer in 2010 – The Year of Hope.
So we did celebrate the beginning of the new year. But how? Here are some traditions that are followed to welcome the new year and you may have too in some form:-
- In the Philippines, it is considered important to have food on the table at midnight to ensure that there is an abundance of food in the New Year. Cuban tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight, the grapes signifying the last twelve months of the year.
- Millions of people watch the ball drop from a flagpole atop One Times Square in New York. This is something that started in 1907 – to usher in 1908.
- At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples in Japan strike their gongs 108 times, in an effort to expel 108 types of human weakness.
- Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are understood to have invented fireworks and created amazing shows during their New Year celebrations.
- The Dutch burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks. The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.
- The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year's eve, "Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song by the poet Robert Burns. The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, "For auld lang syne, we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet."
All right, we welcomed the new year 2010 with a celebration but what should we expect to happen in the year. It is hard to make predictions but the buzz is around the following ones:-
- 2010 will see people starting their own businesses, some due to personal, compelling reasons but most because they will begin to feel confident about their timing.
- Business owners will adopt technology, increasingly go online and/ or mobile and use software as a service (SaaS) or cloud computing applications to reduce the costs associated with adopting new technologies. Social Networks will be used to market products and services. We will see some out of the world user interface innovations.
- Businesses will need to convince customers with facts and information to earn their trust. Delivering what is promised or proof that you can deliver what you promise will be the key to earning such trust.
- Individuals and businesses will rely more on proper and professional financial planning.
- Everybody will want a website, cost-efficient, scalable and search-engine friendly.
- Bing will continue to make small gains in the search market.
- The iPhone will lead but the Android will pick up. It will be between the iPhone, Android and the Blackberry.
- Third-party authentications through a few trusted service providers will become a norm as compared to individual site logins.
- The big players like IBM, SAP and Microsoft will show innovative streaks to make customer gains.
- Software as a service (SaaS) will continue to get more popular, as businesses and institutions will choose to focus on their core competencies and avail of technologies in the cloud, with their benefits of rapid deployment and the low cost of adoption. The cloud computing market will start to become very competitive and customers will be price-sensitive.
- Social media will grow and be increasingly influential. So much content will be produced that media giants will have to find ways to distinguish themselves from alternatives. The print industry will continue to suffer and will shift more online.
- People will find ways to reduce conflict, at individual and group levels but also at the level of nations.(Did I not say that 2010 is the Year of Hope!)
Happy New Year 2010 to all our friends, family and loved ones. Have fun celebrating and let the merriment stay even though the new year’s party is over and the liquor is gone.