Column: Magic of midnight and the promise of new year ahead

There's something about New Year's Eve that turns an ordinary day into something extraordinary.
Carol ForsterCarol Forster
Carol Forster

There is no tangible evidence that anything changes as we cross from 31st to 1st, and yet each and every year sees the 24 hour period feel all different and shiny and new.

‘Nothing changes on New Year’s Day’ - the words of an old U2 song - is true to an extent and yet, in a sense, we do all feel different as the new year dawns.

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It’s a little like standing against a brisk wind, confronted by the passing of time; another year gone and a new one to come.

I’m always glad when the new year starts; a fresh page and the turning over of new leaves. Good goals and targets. To use the most apt word – motivation.

And how we spend our New Year’s Eve is a great time marker, especially if you vary it each year.

My own experiences include the turning of the year in Bologna when I enjoyed a slice of Panettone or Barletta singing with friends.

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Then once on a tube train in London, somewhere between Trafalgar Square and Camden Town, I saw 1980 in with the other inhabitants of my carriage. It was an extraordinary moment where a bunch of people from all over the world, with no connection to each other, shared the turning of a decade.

Together we shed a tear for the end of 1979 and, more to the point, the end of an era.

Then, there were the years in the local singing Auld Lang Syne, with emotions welling up as the clock struck the magical 12. We all joined hands and sang the song, reflecting on the times just passed and looking forward to the new.

However, each new year marks something far greater than the mere change of a date. It marks hope.

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At least we can aim for better and wish for things to change in a positive way.

Perhaps by the end of January, nothing seems different, and yet it is as each year has its own personality and temperament.

When we think back over our lives, we will pick certain years that stand out – the good and the bad.

When we talk of decades such as the sixties, we see a mood that is filled with the events and ambience of the time.

Let’s hope that 2017 sees a return to the mellow.