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Battling the Old Year: Mock combats are performed to represent the struggle between the seasons, Life and Death, and Old year and New. Plant and fruit trees are beaten with sticks; water is poured to cleanse the spirit, remove impurities, and invite grace.

Celebration: The New Year triumphs and the world is renewed. Families re-cement their kinship and the link of their descent. Spirits of dead ancestors preside over gatherings and offerings of food are made to them. Babylonians, Celts, Egyptians and cultures of Thailand, Bali, Finland, Lithuania believe the dead return home. New Year’s Day is a portent for the rest of the year. Working at an occupation for a few minutes of the year is said ensure its continued existence. Clean clothes are worn to protect against evil, tasks are finished, borrowed items are returned, and household items and people are warned not to leave home or there will be a loss in the family or fortune. A Western symbol of the New Year is the baby and Christianity has transformed him into the celebration of the Christ child. (1)

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