It's a strange time of year; Halloween tonight and Firework Night on Monday. As a Christian I'm not a fan of Halloween. Despite the fact that these days it is mostly just kids dressing up and asking for sweets, I'm still uneasy about the message it sends. No doubt most of them will turn out fine but it worries me that introducing children to the idea of spirits, witches and other dark stuff at such a young age, sets a dangerous precedent. I worry that once some of these kids reach their teenage years, they'll be so desensitised about this sort of thing that it will only be a small step to ouija boards and other dodgy stuff. Besides who needs two holidays in such close proximity to each other? Firework night is much more fun.
Although when one thinks about it more deeply, Firework night is pretty darn weird itself. If a terrorist plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was thwarted today, can you imagine the country holding a festival to celebrate it 400 years later? Circumstances today are not so very far removed from back then. The terrorism in 1605 was a direct result of clashes between religions. Even so, I'm pretty sure there would just be a collective "Phew, that was close," and then we'd get on with life as normal. Would we be burning effigies of Osama Bin Laden on bonfires on the same day every year? I expect (and hope) not.
Incidentally do you think Robert Catesby would be a bit put out to know that Guy Fawkes got all the publicity? Catesby was the mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot but rarely gets a mention, save in history lessons at primary school. Fawkes was the man charged with setting the gunpowder alight so he got the spotlight. Even when it came to their executions Fawkes made the headlines. All were to be hung, drawn and quartered but Mr F managed to avoid the worst and most painful parts of the execution. Before being hung he jumped from the platform and broke his neck. Nice eh?
So I suppose what I'm saying is that we Brits are pretty weird with our celebrations. We really should come up with something to replace Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. Suggestions on a postcard please. Anything involving cake will be very favourably looked upon.