The first day of each year is a day to honour Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is a day to look ahead to a brand new year, as Mary looks ahead to a brand new life. It can also be a day to look back on the past year, on its struggles and hurts as well as its successes and celebrations. With both the looking ahead and the looking back, it is appropriate to be aware of our blessings, and to make use of our ability to bless. Native Americans of many tribes bless themselves and one another wit the holy smoke from burning sage and sweet grasses. Often a feather is used to guide the smoke in the direction of the person being blessed.