Sunday, October 30, 2011
We are here again at the ‘Silly Season’, the time of ghouls, witches, spells, ‘trick or treat’ and all things horrid – the time of Halloween and of the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies. Spoil sport! Yes, I know. On top of it all, there are fireworks, bang squish, bang bang and pop pop. Oh, it’s only a bit of fun for the kids, but is it? Fancy dress, treacle apples, muffins and popcorn; what are these things all about?
I’ve already mentioned my dislike of Halloween (See the first link* below), and need add nothing more, but of Guy Fawkes, please continue reading.
Why do we commemorate the horrific death of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic conspirator, who with others had it in their minds to assassinate King James 1st to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne? As far as I can gather, this poor chap was never burnt at the stake; never did he die by being burnt on a fire. According to Wikipedia he committed suicide by jumping off a scaffold and breaking his neck! Others say that he was executed. Who to believe, I don’t know!
Apparently, bonfires were lit on the night of 5th November 1605, the day when Fawkes was caught red-handed in a cellar, under the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Bonfires were burned that same day by way of celebration, because he and his co-conspirators had not been successful with their planned attempt at assassinating King James 1 by blowing him up.
The tradition of burning fires on the 5th November has continued ever since, including the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies.
The practice is rather stupid. Kids and adults get injured every year because of being burnt by fireworks or because of falling into fires. Fires get out of control, necessitating the callout of firefighters. Even properties are not exempt from being damaged or burnt down as a result of fireworks getting too close to them. Household pets are disturbed and frightened by the sound of fireworks, and these animals hate the smell of smoke. Fireworks and bonfires cause needless pollution to the air, and heat generated by them is added to the atmosphere. Under certain conditions, smog can form, causing distress to those who suffer from breathing problems. Quite often, firework night is celebrated on days either side of the 5th November; consequently we end up with the sound of fireworks going off for several nights. Thankfully, this year, 5th November falls on a Saturday, which could mean we may be spared somewhat, and sleeping babies may sleep soundly.
Sadly, commercial interests will ensure the preservation of Halloween and Guy Fawkes, because by the sale of related paraphernalia, those who sell them make millions - even shareholders of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the like will gain.
I concede that there may be a case for well-supervised, organized fireworks displays, for celebratory or entertainment purposes.
Text for the Day
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”
Should Christians Participate in Halloween?
What does the Bible say about ………. the tradition of Halloween?
The Firework Shop List Blog
Sainsbury’s Fireworks (Buy one, get one free)
Standard Fireworks Factory Shop
Ban the Bang
Fireworks (Comprehensive information about fireworks)