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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Whatever happened to Bonfire Night?

Thank goodness last night is over and we are safe from teenagers roaming the streets demanding money with menaces.

Sorry but that's how I see Halloween, which has morphed from some obscure pagan festival into a £160 million retailers' jamboree. How gullible is the British public, buying into something the retailers created? Somehow they identified a "need" for outfits of Frankinstein and serial killers, pumpkins and cakes with green slime, and the public bought it, hook line and sinker.

I can understand why people feel the need for some fun at this time of year, but the sad thing is, we already have a festival at this time of year and it's grounded in history, not some ridiculous made-up American import.

Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night is a true reason to celebrate with fireworks. Years ago, we carved faces on swedes and turned them into jack o'lanterns with a night light inside, and we spent ages building bonfires from rubbish and creating a guy (at least we made something for the penny we requested!).

Of course now a lot of the loony councils have outlawed firework displays and another historic tradition is being squeezed out by rampant commercialism.

Well, this Saturday we will troop out into the garden and set off some fireworks! Bit early I know but Saturday makes sense. It will take me back to my childhood when we obediently went outside for 30 minutes while my dad put rockets in milk bottles and Catherine wheels were attached to the fence. And my mum always started squealing about not going back to a lit firework, and panicked if a jumping jack or banger came over the fence from next door.

Ah the rosy tint of nostalgia! Parents, get in touch with history and the past, and remind your kids what this time of year is really about! (Message in Viz magazine).

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