New Years and Nature

The New Year is the most tangible symbol of new beginnings – of resolutions and promises – and hopefully, some new goals about encouraging yourself to #getoutside this year and spend more time in nature. As we wrap up our celebrations of New Year 2018 and the Chinese New Year 2018 (Year of the Dog), here is a short list of New Year celebrations from around the year, with rituals based in nature:

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Sukkot: A Jewish Tradition

Woman-decorating-sukkah-Sukkot
“The change in seasons always brings along new sights and smells, and with those changes in weather comes feelings and memories. The memories may involve fond recollections of family traditions at certain points in the year or holidays. For me, the start of fall always gives me a particular feeling of warmth connected to the Jewish holiday Sukkot. During fall, the Jewish holiday Sukkot is celebrated. The holiday celebrates the harvesting season and commemorates the release of the ancient Jews from slavery. A central part of Sukkot is building a sukkah, a temporary hut structure outside. Typically the sukkah’s top is covered in bamboo sheets, branches, or other materials from the earth. My family, along with many other Jewish families and communities, eat meals in the sukkah, decorate it, and even sleep in it! For me, the holiday strengthens my relationship with nature, family, friends, and community members. Sitting in the sukkah with my family and neighbors for dinner, under a sky full of stars, allows me to reflect on the impact we have on nature and each other. It is a time to connect with people we love and aspects of nature we often take for granted, but provide us with so much. As the season changes from fall to winter, I ask you to reflect on what seasons remind you of certain holidays or family events and how do these events bring you closer to nature and your relationships?” 
Jessica Phillip (HIN Project Staff, 2017)