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Happy New Year

March 30, 2012

On the tail-end of what has been the most beautiful week of the year so far, it strikes me that the year only really starts in March.

Apart from having to buy a new calendar, there is no real difference between December 31st and January 1st. It’s still cold, dark and mostly miserable. People are still basking in the post-Christmas haze of conviviality and reduced responsibility, with a bit of a boozy top-up thanks to New Year’s celebrations. Winter is still Winter. Other than the date, nothing changes.

Compare that to some time between the end of February and the beginning of March and April. There is a noticeable change in the weather. You start overheating in your winter coat. You start carrying you umbrella less often. People are coming out of their miserly hibernation, and may even smile at you on the street (Though don’t get your hopes up – This is London after all). Nature certainly knows that its time for something new. The trees come back to life and the daffodils shoot up, trumpeting the approaching Spring (Other flowers too but I really like daffodils).

Nature knows when to turn over a new leaf but we insist on making our resolutions in January, when we are least likely to keep them. Promises to go to the gym and exercise more are broken even before they’re made whilst the weather is still tuned to nipple-freezing cold and there’s still leftover Christmas cake on the table.

Maybe if we made our resolutions to change ourselves for the better around about this time, they might have a chance to stick. Anything worth doing will be hard, no matter what time of year it is, but resolutions might be easier to keep if we can see some change going on around us at the same time.

This might all sound a bit frivolous but the new year did begin in March for around 600 years before we adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. The remnant of this is still present in the financial year, which very sensibly begins anew in April. Clearly, this idea isn’t as ridiculous as you might think.

Another fine argument for starting the New Year in March is that it takes me until now to start writing the correct date!

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