I really, really dislike New Year’s Eve. It’s cold outside, I’m tired after Christmas and I feel like doing nothing but if I don’t want to look like a loser I must go out and have the most amazing time of my life. I’m not anti-fun. I’ve been to a lot of fun parties but not one on New Year’s Eve. So this year, I think I’m going against social pressure and will celebrate the new year in a different way.
When I was in Bali, my guide told me about the Night of Shiva, which is usually celebrated in January and believed to fall on the darkest day of the year. According to the legend there was a hunter called Lubdaka. One day, while he was hunting in the forest he met a tiger and had to climb a tree to escape. The tiger didn’t leave him and was waiting under the tree so Lubdaka spent the whole night awake, praying and waiting for the animal to leave. In the morning, he got forgiveness from Shiva and the tiger left.
That’s why the Night of Shiva is a time for introspection when people meditate and ask for forgiveness and guidance from Shiva who’s not here to destroy but to make space for the new. In most cultures darkness has a negative connotation but not in Bali where people recognised its importance: There’s no light without darkness.
In my opinion, this is a much better way to celebrate. Instead of drinking till I can’t remember what I did in the past year I can take account of all the good and bad things that happened and make some plans for the next year. There’s no point in making new year’s resolutions if we are not ready for them or don’t even know what we really need in our lives. So this year I think I’ll give myself some me-time and think about what I really need and how I can improve myself. What about you?