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New Year ceremonies are designed to get rid of the past and to welcome the future. January is named after the Etruscan word janua which means door.

The End of the Year:   The Old Year is marked by suspension of normal activites. Abstinence and fasts are done. The life of the community symbolized by the king ends. Kings are deposed or their position temporarily suspended. In ancient Rome February 24th was considered The Flight of the King. Temporary kings for the season are established in Cambodia, Thailand, Nigeria, Uganda, and British Twelfth Night. Parties are held to see the Old Year out.

Banishing the Old Year: There cannot be a New Year until the Old Year is gone. The Old Year is evil and must be banished. An effigy of Death is paraded through the town or city and is buried, drowned, or burned. It can be made of straw, twigs, or rags. In Scotland the dummy is called the Auld Wife, while in other countries it is called the Death.

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