Last night’s new year’s eve celebration was a quiet one for our family. A simple dinner and some party snacks in the family room as we watched movies together. At midnight we raised a glass of sparkling cider – hugs all around.

A Bummer Burning

Many moons ago I went to and later worked at a summer camp – an old co-op in southwestern Michigan. Apple cider and maple syrup weekends, workshops and work-bees, and folk dancing in Birkenstocks. Open year round, the center ran a winter camp and one year the directors shared a new year tradition they’d picked up at a folk school in the woods of North Carolina.

They wrote down their bummers from the outgoing year and burned them as they gave off a huge scream at midnight. Then they threw the ashes into the lake. (We were further north and the lake was frozen over, so we flushed the ashes.) This simple act was meant to leave our bummers behind as we rang in the new year.

Our family’s been burning our bummers for years and I even introduced the tradition to my friends at various gatherings. This year we added a new tradition.

From Hubby’s Neck of the Woods

In Ireland, people throw open their doors at midnight to let the old year leave and welcome the new year into their homes. A way of saying goodbye to the past while facing the future with optimism.

Traditions of hope. Call them acts of confidence – defiance even – after a challenging and sometimes painful year.

If only we could leave behind the pain and loss of 2020 in a single moment by burning slips of paper. It won’t happen over night, but in 2021 we have a chance to start a new chapter in our lives … bring healing to our pained and divided nation.

Happy new year, friends. May 2021 be a year filled with light, love, joy, prosperity, compassion and great health for you and those you love.

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