I picked this version of Auld Lang Syne for today because it has always been a favorite tune. My favorite lyric is “We drank a toast to innocence, we drank a toast to now.” We are standing on the line–the line between the old and the new. The old, oft remembered song of innocence and yet one foot starting to move into now.
There are interesting centuries old traditions from the British Isles that we don’t necessarily follow here in America now. They are worth a look, however.
In England, any gifts brought into the house on New Year’s Eve should be welcomed with ceremony, as they will bring good fortune to the house. The cleaning of the house before New Year’s Eve is a way of clearing out unfinished business, of any kind; clearing out the dust and cobwebs of the old year, so you can start out fresh and new.
In Scotland, people burned Juniper branches and carried them throughout the house to clear it of negative energy. This dates back to the time when Juniper branches were burned in the fireplace to ensure the gifts of the New Year. By 1893, toward evening the thoroughfares become thronged with the youth of the city.
Another tradition — today, championed by “pagans” — is to make a list of what you need and really want. This was also the time to give yourself one of the items on your list; traditionally, you wrapped it up and made a true gift of it to yourself, perhaps accompanied by this Blessing:
Blessing on Giving a Gift
Take, and welcome joy within you;
Showers, flowers, powers,
Hatfuls, capfuls, lapfuls,
Treasures, measures, pleasures,
All be yours to enjoy!
—-Caitlin Matthews: A Celtic Devotional