A festival of lights for New Years Day

When I wrote Crowned with Nine Rays I had been playing with an idea for a completely new modern ritul to honor Apollon Hyperboreios. A winter festival celebrating the god from afar, but I hadn’t pinned down exactly when to celebrate it suggesting vaguely that such a festival could be celebrated in January ideally or perhaps February. These are often the coldest and bitterest months of winter until things begin to warm up again at the end of February and beginning of March. Especially Jauary. Back home in Alaska January was midwinter. If December marked the official beginning of the three months of winter with the winter solstice, then January must be midwinter. Of course in Alaska, during my childhood, it snowed most of the autumn too lol. But every year in November lasting through until around March the city celebrated a festival of lights to combat the dark months of the year…keeping in mind that in the far north when we are speaking the darkest months of the year we are literally talking *dark*. As in the fact that during December and January you will not see much of the sun, and if you are indoors during the day it is guaranteed to be dark in the morning when you leave the house and be dark again by the time you leave to head home again. The Festival of Lights as it was dubbed was the combat the seasonal depression that many Alaskans experience with such long periods of darkness as the earth has tilted away from the sun and Apollon is afar from us.

But as the new year is part of this dark, cold period of winter…and is the vehicle of the new year by the modern calendar that most of us follow, it seems appropriate to honor Apollon Hyperboreios with a festival of lights on new years day. I say New Years Day instead of New Years Eve because I don’t see this akin to the solstice rituals in which lights are lit in honor of the sun that is to reborn on the solstice day, but rather that lits can be lit…..and colorful paper latterns would be idea as a symbolic representation of the aurora borealis (the norther lights) that dance playfully in the sky. So we may draw up the colorful lights in honor of Apollon who is afar, the bringer of the new months as Apollon Noumenios and therefore also appropriate to associate with the new year too. That his light graces the dawn of a new year, a new hope, a new beginning as we await his return in the spring.

After all Apollon as god of the boundaries, who turns the cycle of the moonlight to rebirth the month again and again, he turns the wheel of all nature and life in harmony to his music…the axis about which it all spins. He greets at the passage with his torch held high, bringing in always the new from the death of the previous. Let his light herald a bright new year and that we celebrate it and honor it with all the hope in the world. Like every year I will be beside my daughter as we count down the minutes to the new year…probably watching the ball drop in New York Times Square, with our sparkling grape juice in hand. And then welcome with cheer the dawn of the new born year. The light of promise for each of us to hold dear. Of course people celebrate the new year…because the new year represents the best things that we can hope for. It is a time to wipe the slate clean, to start over, to be reborn ourselves. And of course to set resolutions of how we may improve ourselves and become more and better than we hae been before.

Therefore tonight I shall cheer the dawn of the new year with my family and tommorow morning I shall pray to Apollon, and set up lights for him and honor him throughout the morning in celebration of Apollon Hyperboreios. And so I will conclude this post by wishing everyone a truly happy and blessed New Year. May we receive all the blessings and joy as we may find it and cherish it in our lives.

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