New Year's Eve usually brings out lots of smiles.

New Year’s Eve usually brings out lots of smiles.

As this is the last day of 2014, what better way to end the year than with a little bit of beauty. Another year has passed, and another is about to begin. Like the coming of the summer or winter solstice, the beginning of a new year has always been a special time, celebrated by different societies throughout history. We pause and reflect and realize that our lives continue their inexorable march forward. We wonder what will fate bring us in the coming year. So again, let us celebrate the changing of the years. Unlike Christmas Eve, which is at its heart a religious holiday, rich with meaning and symbolism, New Year’s is a purely secular, even pagan time. As the official end of the holiday season, we always like to participate, at least in some measure, in the pure pleasures of this old yet festive ritual.