On or near the first Sunday in January, many Unitarian Universalist congregations hold a ritual to bid farewell to the old year, and to release it.
In the words of Rev. Elizabeth Harding, "The fire communion separates the end of the year from the beginning, helping us to put in perspective the joys and sorrows, the changes and transitions, the ups and downs of the year. It's a half-way point in our church year, but a celebration of the outside calendar’s year’s end and year’s beginning."
In a ceremony of the burning bowl, people are invited to write down write down words, or a phrase, to sum up what they wish to release before entering the new year. They then come forward to burn that piece of paper.