People form the north hemisphere have it all wrong regarding Christmas and New Year’s. I mean, ok, Christmas in winter is kind of cool but New year’s? Its horrid! I grew up in Mozambique, where the holidays are in the peak of summer. As kids we would go to a beach days after Christmas and depending on how long the adults were on holidays we’d stay there for a week or two or three. It was always the highlight of my summer holiday. In my late teenage years and early twenties I continued to do the same, only difference is I went with my boyfriend and friends instead of family.
Nothing can quite compare to those days lazying about under the sun. We would often leave “home” early in the morning and only return sometime mid-afternoon when we were hungry. Only to run back outdoors as soon as we’d finished eating. Sometimes the adults would organize an excursion to another beach nearby but mostly we were on our own, free to do as we pleased. Everyday a different adventure.
On New Year’s Eve there were always parties to go to, fireworks over the water and bonfires along the beach. But the best part of New Years Eve was watching the sunrise. Not everybody did it of course, but for me it was always the highlight of the night/holidays.
Picture this if you can: early dawn, the parties have died down and the crowds have dispersed. Where a few moments before rowdy but good natured crowds stood now silence reigns supreme. The absence of music directs the attention of those present to the wonders of nature, suddenly the sight and sound of the sea in its constant coming and going become enthralling. Small groups of people fighting the weariness of an all nighter can be seen scattered along the beach. They are mainly quiet -or talking in hushed tones- but every once in a while the sound of laughter can be heard breaking the silence. Most are sitting on the sand, a few are standing. All are waiting for a glimpse of that big red balloon popping over the horizon. The absolute and irrefutable sign that a new day has come and with it the new year.
After witnessing that enchanting and solemn initial display of the sun people slowly start standing and getting ready to walk home. Before heading home some venture into the sea for a swim to bring in the new year with good luck. Admittedly some swam while waiting for the sun to come up but most did it afterwards.
Over the years I’ve watched the sun rise over mountains, skylines, even from behind temples (Angkor Wat) and although all are stunning settings none of them can compare to watching it rise up from the sea.
And to watch it rise on January 1st with people who are as awe-struck as you at the wonders of nature? It was glorious.