Happy New Year! A year filled to the brim with hope and optimism. Where everything is new again and nothing seems impossible. The unmarked pages on the calendar speak of unspoiled potential and unbridled possibilities. Opportunity knocks and we are rested and ready to answer the call. But, why do we start the new year on January 1st? That was the deceivingly simple question Verónica, my teenage daughter, asked during the holiday lull. Why indeed. The closest cosmic event is the winter solstice, nearly two weeks earlier, so I speculated the Julian calendar had slowly fallen out of synch with the solar cycle (which is, of course, why the Gregorian calendar was instituted). Not content with mere speculation, and figuring there had to be a perfectly good explanation, I set-out to find an answer. My speculation proved to be way off the mark. It turns-out January 1st was instituted in 153 BC as the day the new year begins because that was the day the government changed hands and two new consuls (top dogs of the Roman Empire) were sworn-in. This annual tradition ended on January 1, 541 when the last consul was appointed, yet 1,468 years later this arbitrary vestige of governmental affairs remains. I think the moral of the story is "careful with the traditions you start, who knows how long they will last".
Whatever the reason for the season, it is good to be back in the swing of things. It is also good that today we break our three week donut fast (has it been that long?) with five dozen delicious donuts (courtesy of Jim Johnson). So come on down and grab that first donut of '09 with gusto. Answer the call of the wild donut and get the new year rolling on the right track. I look forward to a year filled with delectable Friday treats. A year where the Friday Donut Club, another tradition that may yet take on a life of its own, turns five years old.