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Well, The calendar on the wall tells me 2008 is now but a memory. Now we can look forward to the twists, turns and opportunities that await us in 2009.

Celebrating the New Year is one of the oldest holidays in history. Some of the earliest observations are attributed to have occurred in ancient Babylon.

However, the Babylonians coincided their observation of New Year with a lunar year. It was celebrated with the first "New Moon" after the vernal equinox -- the beginning of spring.

Those who party their way into the New Year would appreciate the fact that the Babylonians celebrated for 11 days.

The Romans celebrated New Year in late March until 153 BC, when the date was moved to Jan. 1 for the benefit of military planning.

Up until the Middle Ages, the early church opposed the celebration of the New Year. (The church considered it to be a pagan holiday.)

Later, the church began to more actively celebrate the eighth day after the birth of Christ -- New Years Day -- as the "Feast of the Solemnity of Mary," or the day a Jesus was given a name in accordance with Hebrew traditions.

Carroll countians of the Hindu faith celebrate the traditional Hindu New Year, "Sarvasiththu Varusha," later in the year. It is observed when the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) in April. The exact time is designated every year by astrologers.

In observance of this New Year, Hindus pay their respects to parents and elders and exchange good wishes -- "Kai Vishesham."

For those who like to eat, the celebration of the Hindu New year is not to be missed. I'll be more than happy to help any Carroll County Hindu family with eating a vada or two ... or three. Your place or mine. (Vada is a traditional Indian snack, which is shaped somewhat like a doughnut, only it is made of mashed potatoes that are spiced, battered and deep-fried.)

The Islamic celebration of New Year is also not observed on Jan. 1. It is observed on the first day of Muharram -- the first month of the Islamic calendar.

The Islamic lunar year is about two weeks shorter than a solar year so New Year is observed on different dates each year.

Local Muslims celebrated New Year last Monday, Dec. 29. In 2009, if I am not mistaken, it will be observed on Dec. 18.

If a member of the Carroll County Muslim community could drop me an e-mail with a further explanation of the celebration of the Islamic New Year, that would be great. Food is also welcome.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is observed on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. In 2009, this will occur on Sept. 18. It would be great if a member of the Jewish faith in Carroll County could drop me an e-mail with more details. And of course, all contributions of challah bread, gifilte fish, and lekach (honey cake) will be accepted.

Saintly deeds

From food and New Year celebrations we reconvene the Sunday Carroll Eagle history trivia quiz for the cherished Sunday Carroll Eagle mug, which is quite suitable for hot tea, to accompany lekach, vada or a traditional Carroll County delicacy -- a chocolate covered doughnut.

It was on Jan. 4 that the first American born saint died in the early 1800s.

This incredible woman performed much of her great work very close to Carroll County, and was canonized on this date in the mid-to-late 1900s.

What is her name? Also, please tell me a little about her and her extraordinary accomplishments.

Think you know? Drop me an e-mail at kdayhoff@carr.org.

In the meantime, have a Happy New Year.

When he is not daydreaming of ethnic food, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kdayhoff@carr.org.


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