Name and Peace

The names... Words? Or deeper than what we ever think? Share with us:What does your name mean and why it may be connected to Peace... Thank you!

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The Meaning of New Year'sTraditions by Waverly Fitzgerald from Beliefnet

New Year's Eve, with its emphasis on romance and indulgence, might seem like a totally secular celebration. But underneath all that glitter and sparkle is an ancient holiday with deep spiritual roots. For centuries, and in similar ways, people have been observing the end of one year and the beginning of another.

Ancient Romans celebrated with six days of carousing that would probably be familiar to us today. St. Boniface, a missionary from England who visited Rome in 742, was appalled at how the Romans celebrated Kalends of January, as the New Year was called, with "dancing in the streets, heathenish cries, sacrilegious songs, tables laden with food and women wearing amulets and offering them for sale."

A Time of Rebirth
Because the Winter Solstice is the turning point of the year, beginning the lengthening of days, it has long been viewed as the birth of the year--by pagans celebrating the return of the Sun, and by Christians welcoming the birth of the Son of God. The days between Solstice and the New Year are a magical, luminous time period, when anything is possible. In England, the Twelve Days of Christmas were considered omen days which could be used to predict the weather in the coming year. In Scotland, no court had power during these days; and in Ireland, tradition held that if a person died during the Twelve Days, he or she went straight to Heaven.

In ancient Babylon, the days between the Winter Solstice and the New Year were seen as the time of a struggle between Chaos and Order, with Chaos trying to take over the world. Other cultures (Hindu, Chinese, Celtic) also viewed this as a time for reversing order and rules-celebrants would change roles with servants or dress in costumes for a time until order was restored.

Starting Fresh
While each culture's New Year celebration has its own flavor, there are certain common themes. The period leading up to New Year's Day is a time for setting things straight: a thorough housecleaning, paying off debts, returning borrowed objects, reflecting on one's shortcomings, mending quarrels, giving alms. In many cultures, people jump into the sea or a local body of water-literally washing the slate clean.

In some towns in Italy, I've been told, you have to watch out for falling objects, as people shove their old sofas, chairs and even refrigerators out of their windows on New Year's Eve. In Ecuador, people make dummies, stuffed with straw, to represent the events of the past year. These "ano viejo" effigies are burned at midnight, thus symbolically getting rid of the past.

Whatever preparations are made, most traditions teach that they should be completed before midnight on New Year's Eve. According to British folklore, you should not sweep on New Year's Day, or you will sweep your good luck away, or take anything out of the house-even trash. You only want to bring new things in to insure abundance in the coming year. If you must carry something out, be sure to bring something else in first, preferably a coin concealed outside the previous night. As this medieval poem reminds us:

Take out, then take in
Bad luck will begin
Take in, then take out
Good luck comes about

Rituals (and Underwear) for Good Fortune
Everything you do on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is freighted with significance for the future. The American custom of spending the night with the one you love and kissing them at midnight insures that the relationship will flourish during the coming year. In Rio de Janeiro, more than a million people gather on the beaches on December 31st to honor Yemanja, the Yoruban "Mother of the Sea," who brings good fortune.

Even the color of underwear Brazilians wear on the first day of the new year has meaning. Pink brings love, yellow, prosperity; and white, peace and happiness.

The pig is the symbol of good luck in Vienna, Austria. Pigs are let loose in restaurants and everyone tries to touch them for luck as they run by. In private homes, a marzipan pig, with a gold piece in its mouth, is suspended from a ribbon and touched instead. In Greece, it's customary to throw a pomegranate wrapped in silver foil on the threshold, to spread the seeds of good luck for an abundant year.

In Spanish-speaking countries, people put twelve grapes into their wine or champagne class at midnight. The grapes represent the months of the old year and the new one. At the stroke of midnight, after toasting each other with the wine, people eat the grapes as quickly as possible, making a wish on each one.

Food and Money: Ensuring Abundance
As everything has significance on New Year's Day, the first person to cross your threshold after midnight brings luck to the household in the British Isles. In Scotland, the best possible "first-footer" was a tall, handsome, dark-haired man, who brought gifts of whisky, bread, a piece of coal or firewood, and a silver coin. He entered in silence, and no one spoke to him until he put the coal on the fire, poured a glass of whisky for the head of the house and wished everyone a Happy New Year. In France, the children knock on their parents' bedroom door, pretending to personify health, abundance and joy, which the parents welcome.

Food eaten on New Year's Day is said to affect the quality of the coming year. The ancient Romans exchanged bay and palm branches hung with sweets, dates, figs and gilded fruits. The items hung on the branch expressed hopes the new year would be sweet, fertile, and prosperous.

Neapolitans still wrap dried figs in laurel leaves and exchange them as a kind of insurance of abundance for the coming year. They also make confections of caramelized dough and tiny almond pieces, so the year will be sweet.

The Piedmontese eat little grains of rice which represent money. The traditional Umbrian New Year's cake, made of almonds, sugar, and egg whites, is shaped like a coiled snake, probably to represent the way snakes shed their skin to renew themselves, just as people leave behind the old year and embrace the new. Italians also serve lentils, raisins, and oranges, symbols of riches, good luck, and the promise of love.

In the American South, it's traditional to eat cornbread, cabbage, and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. The peas symbolize coins or copper money, the cornbread gold, and the cabbage green or folding money.

A Japanese New Year's custom is the money tree: pine and cypress branches placed in a vase, and decorated with old coins and paper pomegranates and flowers. Old coins (with holes in them) are strung on colored threads in the shape of dragon and put at the foot of children's beds. This is called "cash to pass the year." It is supposed to be saved and not spent. However, money is given as a gift, usually in red envelopes.

Although many of these customs may seem like superstitions, they all stem from a similar belief: by ending the old year with respect and beginning the new one in the way we would like it to begin, we establish our intentions for the new year. Whether we gather together to watch the ball drop in Times Square or set off firecrackers at midnight or clink champagne glasses with our loved ones, we are acknowledging an important transition and welcoming a fresh start. May your New Year be rich with all of the blessings you desire.

Discussion Forum


Started by bharat nagori. Last reply by Deniz Kite Nov 26, 2008. 1 Reply

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Comment by Deniz Kite on December 2, 2008 at 4:04pm
Ciao Luis and Keith, welcome among us!
Believe me Keith, I met two Keith in my life; both Aries and I always thought they were fighters because of their horoscope! Now I know why they always blew...

And I liked Karmstrong.. Like Strong Karma..Strong Mission: To promote Peace...
Comment by Keith Armstrong on December 2, 2008 at 3:54pm
Thanks to you Deniz.
My name Keith has been given as wind or the four winds. I also have this as a name for my (mythical) shield.
It is a difficult name to live with - I look at other Keiths and see them struggle with it also. But there is something of the courageous about it.
I like karmstrong which reflects more truly into my life. When I am calm I am strong.
All too easily the waters get stirred.
Comment by Deniz Kite on December 2, 2008 at 11:49am
Thank you Rebanta, I believe that knowledge is always there when we can see with our eyes shut... Anyone can feel anything existing (even beyond time).

Coming to our own self, we have a sentence in turksih: A tailor cant sew his own dress. So it is, thats why, Rumi uses Mirror allegory a lot in his poetry. We mirror each other continously.

It is so nice to have peace people here who reflect the peace and love and the beauty in us.
Comment by Rebanta Goswami on December 1, 2008 at 4:22am
It's a pity that I never followed the meaning of my name, but the name followed my whole life, like a shadow which sometimes kept me away from practical reasoning and materialistic gains. My life is all that Deniz wrote in her poem on me. She has found the real perspective of my life led on pure instincts. To me, Deniz is a visionary.
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 8:55pm
Ayla has sent you a message on iPeace

Dear Deniz, thank a lot for your messages, always so beautiful :-)

In my case, I keep my name.

But you know .... *no applause comes from a hand, without involving the other hand *

Yes... is ....... Rumi ;-)

Thank you and hugs :-)
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 8:53pm
From Catherine Mascrès

In some tribes, one gets birth name and one given by the tribe later when one has done some deeds. That is the secret name, only told to very few as strenght goes with the shared by many secret. It is true that name can influence life, but so can also do stars, and numbers, and oneself???? Ami. Cath
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 8:33pm
Yasser H. Al rawashdeh has sent you a message on iPeace

Dear Deniz,

Partially yes, and names has a power of guidenc, therefore we have to be careful in choosing our names.
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 7:31pm
And Molly, yes I agree what you have said: I felt very often myself as the Sea; so to say I considered life as the Sea and with all ups-downs, I felt I was realizing myself.

Maybe a name is a secret whisper of the One reminding us our mission or path?

But maybe we relate ourselves to our names and eventually live the life that name asks us to do...

What I deeply feel is, that there was a wisdom in very old days when a child chose his/her own name by what he had done...

Now we follow our names, maybe we had to find our names?
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 6:47pm
The meaning of Peace

1. stillness or silence
2. absence of mental anxiety
3. absence of war
4. harmony between people or groups
5. a treaty marking the end of a war
6. law and order within a state: a breach of the peace
7. at peace
a. dead: the old lady is at peace now
b. in a state of harmony or serenity
8. hold or keep one's peace to keep silent
9. keep the peace to maintain law and order [Latin pax]
Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006
Comment by Deniz Kite on November 30, 2008 at 6:46pm
A Peace Story:

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?

"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

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