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Celebrating the New Year/ Fire Communion

On the Sunday closest to January 1, many Unitarian Universalist congregations use the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Themes can include reflection upon the year that has just passed; hope for the promise of the year to come; resolutions to change; the passage of time; hope; expectation; dreaming of a creating a better tomorrow.

When asked to report how their congregations recognize a new year, the following trends emerged:

  • The most widespread UU tradition is a Fire Communion, sometimes known as a "burning bowl" ceremony, in which people burn pieces of paper to let go of the old year and greet the new with excitement and intention.
  • In congregations like the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, the first Sunday after New Year's Day is a "requiem" service, in which the congregation enjoys and celebrates the works of those who have died in the previous year (not in the congregation, but rather the scientists, poets, artists, and musicians in the general population).


Unitarian Universalist Perspectives

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New Year

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