Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Did you say Happy New Year?

Is it just me (again) or does anyone else find the repetitive and compulsory wishing of health, happiness, and prosperity for the New Year a little creepy? Somehow, no matter how sincerely expressed, all these good wishes serve as a reminder that there are other possibilities; that for some, 2006 will be a year of famine and divorce and illness and redundancy and war and plague and pestilence and bankruptcy and other natural and unnatural catastrophes. (Feeling cheered up?)
Here in France it's not enough just to say a short "Bonne Année", you have to add something along the lines of ...."et tous mes voeux pour vous et votre famille" or "et bonne santé" often followed (especially if you're speaking to someone old and decrepit) by "car c'est le plus important n'est-ce pas, ha ha".
Why do we do it? Is it superstition? Do we really believe that by just expressing the wish that our acquaintances won't be affected by bad vibes in the coming year we will protect them in some way? (What do you mean I have Bodoquin's Gonorrhea, I can't have, Lesley wished me good health last January.) In which case, may I suggest that we do what the Mormons do when they baptise all those dead people and start looking out the electoral registers and wishing a HNY in absentia to every name on there.
I love that scene in Indochine where Catherine Deneuve looks at her beautiful grandchild for the first time and loudly exclaims what an ugly little critter she is, then explains that this is just a way of tricking the gods into thinking the baby's not worth bothering about so that they won't try to carry her off.
So from now, in an effort to ward off all evil spirits, I think I'll be wishing everyone an Abysmal New Year.

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8 comments:

BeefKing said...

No, not just you. In fact, I'm all for the wishing of New Year ill will. Not because of the backfiring reverse-reverse-reverse psychology of it, but because of its misanthropic intent. Holidays. Humbug.

deborah said...

I love the renewal of a 'New' year and always make resolutions.
I ignore the 'bonne santé surtout' and bask in Bonne année. Nice excuse to talk to the neighbours for a change.
This is probably because I find 'Happy Christmas' even more absurd.

Wendy said...

I keep forgetting to wish people Bonne annee and they all give me the evil eye....it's a bit embarrassing...but really, will wishing them a good year change anything? I've been wished it a dozen times (and more) and already pranged my car. Baah!

Léons Life said...

Well I am one of those that do the 'bonne santé surtout' bit and not only for the oldies. As I DO think this is the most important thing that you can have in your life. I have a number of people around me who have serious health problems( including friends with a 6 year old who is slowly recovering from cancer) so think that everyone needs that in their lives.

The thing I really hate though is having to kiss everyone at work and I work with a lot of people. Yuk. At least this is a 2 kiss area of France.

Léons Life said...

Opps forget to say that I got a nasty pop up today !

Lesley said...

Pauline: I agree that health is a blessing but I think that repeating it over and over again just draws attention to the fact that we might all drop dead tomorrow.
Sorry about the pop-up, I really don't know what to do about them.

Antipodeesse said...

Pauline: I used to live in the Vendée, which is a 4-kiss region... it took forever to arrive at and leave a party!

Jordan said...

Crappy New Year to you too! ;)