"I was thinking, last night at ma'ariv, that the day and the year have something in common. We begin the day not at the artifical hour of midnight or at the seemingly-natural time of sunrise, but rather at sunset, as twilight comes to be followed by night. At the beginning of the day things start to darken, with the most challenging or dangerous times to come in a few hours, but by the mid-point (mid-day, so to speak) things are brightening up and the day reaches a climax in light and warmth. So too with the year -- we begin it now, as autumn comes to be followed by the cold, dark winter, but we know that spring and summer are coming. (What's the mid-point of the year? Roughly Pesach.) There's even a rabbinic tradition that the first Rosh Hashana was not on the first day of creation but on the sixth, the day man was created, after which things went downhill rather quickly but will ultimately end in redemption." -- cellio, 2009-09-18
[It occurs to me that the modern Druidic / Wiccan / ancient Celtic calendar that starts on Samhain could be said to fit this pattern as well.]
To my Jewish friends, I wish you a blessed Rosh Hashana -- may you have a good and sweet year, and may your names be inscribed in the Book of Life!