02 Jan, 2014
By Polly Kreisman
Speaking of New Years, we think the ancient Mexicans had something right with “Good Riddance Day” (a modern renaming) where bad memories of the previous year are burned, so that they don’t follow you into the New Year.
For the seventh straight year, the Times Square Alliance hosted Good Riddance Day, collecting hundreds of people’s bad, sad or frustrating 2013 memories online and in person. The written regrets were shredded up and were destroyed on Saturday.
“Good Riddance Day was inspired by a Latin American tradition where New Year’s Eve revelers would actually take life-sized dolls filled with objects that had bad memories and thoughts in their lives, and they would burn them on New Year’s Eve,” said Gary Winkler of the Times Square Alliance.
It’s one day to remember the bad memories of the past year.
“This is a chance to get rid of those lowlights, to shred, to pulverize, to beat into tiny pieces whatever you want to say good riddance to,” said Tim Tompkins of the Times Square Alliance.
For one man, it was his student loans.
One woman wrote one for a friend.
“‘Never work on my birthday unless I’m performing on stage.’ She wants to be on Broadway,” the woman said.
Amy Johnson shredded her three-year-old’s CAT scan. She and her family won a trip to New York for her winning online submission about the struggles of her son, Bodey, who was born with Down syndrome. He had open heart surgery at age 1 and was given a cancer diagnosis at age 2, and she says he beat them both.
“We were just excited to say good riddance to cancer and start a fresh new year in 2014,” Johnson said.
Most of the good riddances were less dramatic but clearly significant.
“There’s always a certain number of people who are like, ‘My cheating, two-timing boyfriend,’ and then the picture of them in happier days goes right into the shredder,” Tompkins said. “One person brought a picture of his ruptured appendix, which he had removed. He’s like, ‘Good riddance.’”
When you think about it, it really does make a lot of sense. You have to get rid of what you don’t want in order to make room for all those New Year’s resolutions.