According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of the word anniversary is as follows:
Early 13c., the day of a person’s death, from Mideival Latin: anniversarium.
From Latin anniversarius (adj.) “returning annually,” from annus [giggle, giggle] “year” + vertere “to turn”. The adjective came to be used as a noun in Church Latin as anniversaria (dies) in reference to saints’ days.
What is most interesting about this is that we chiefly use anniversaries as a time of happiness and celebration of love (cheesiness).
ie: “It’s my boyfriend’s and my 5 month, 6 day, 7th hour anniversary of the time we first tried kettle corn together.”
In fact, the etymology seems to state that anniversary was associated with death, and remembering those that died annually. No wonder marriages are falling apart. Celebrating anniversaries each year seems to be a bad omen.
In saying this, I think anniversary, in a positive modern context, can be a lovely idea when used sparingly. Everything in moderation. I don’t mind commemorating a year mark of a relationship, a birthday, a wedding–this makes sense. Although, after checking out the origin, I’m wary as to whether it isn’t a corrosive term.
Let’s now look at the etymology of how this idea came into my head; connect the dots, if you will, of the way this thought process initiated itself.
This will involve some baring of the soul, but all is well that ends well.
This past Friday, I recieved some drunk picture texts from my friends stating they wished I was with them (I was away on work in New York). When I looked at the foolish photos taken for my benefit, I wasn’t sad I wasn’t with them, even though I would’ve loved to have been, but happy because I realized since moving to D.C. I’ve developed amazing relationships. These are friends and people I had no idea existed a year ago when I was living in hoppin’ central PA.
Needless to say, last year was tough, aside from being stuck at home with seemingly no escape. The most pivotal dillema that haunted me was a was a dying relationship that ended a year ago exactly. When I received the text, I remembered how low I had felt, how despondant and heartbroken, and how contrary I feel now.
So rather than looking back at what was, my anniversary of a bad time, I look at how happy I am a year later. I have some of the closest friends I’ve ever had, I’m never bored, I have a job that is opening many doors, a new boy, and always the chaos and awkwardness in life that I thrive on.
So from the old Latin context, here’s to the anniversary of the death of a relationship, the end of a roadblock, and now the start of something else! Cheers to that.