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Tony Grist

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Please To Remember... [Nov. 1st, 2006|01:03 pm]
Tony Grist
The shops used to carry Guy Fawkes masks. This year I haven't seen a single one. There probably weren't any last year either, but I wasn't looking.

Oldham used to mount a  big civic firework display in the park. That was dropped several years ago- round about the beginning of the millennium- and no-one seems to have complained- or even noticed.

Bonfire Night has been edged out by Halloween. Ghosts and witches instead of Catholic terrorists with Van Dyck beards. It's understandable. Ghosts and witches are perennially fascinating; most of us stopped being frightened of pointy-bearded Catholics a while ago.

I did wonder whether V For Vendetta might reverse the trend. Apparently not. Alan Moore's novel is a period piece- which could be why the film didn't do that well. No contemporary freedom fighter would think of wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Apart from anything else, he wouldn't be able to find a shop to sell him one.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2006-11-01 02:13 pm (UTC)
It's a shame. I won't go off on some rant about the evils of Americanization (certainly someone else will do that for me), but it's a shame seeing old traditions die out, even if they may be culturally irrelevant to the present day. This particular battle between Catholic and Protestant might be buried under centuries of history, but the remembrance could still serve as a community builder and a source of identity, I should think. And much like Halloween in the States, evolve over time into something that suits the zeitgeist.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-01 10:48 pm (UTC)
The whole trick or treating thing feels alien to me. Over here a lot of older kids seem to regard it as a license to go round demanding money with menaces. One year I had some young thug try to put his foot in the door when I wouldn't give him what he wanted.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2006-11-02 01:14 am (UTC)
Good grief, that's not right. And certainly nothing what I've ever experienced growing up in the States. While hooliganism does happen here on Halloween, it's rare.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-02 09:12 am (UTC)
In the USA trick or treating has deep historical roots. Over here it's just suddenly appeared- and no-one- neither the trick or treaters nor the householders- really understands the social compact on which it's based.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2006-11-02 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it does seem anchorless. I have no idea where youths got the idea to demand money they way you describe. That's nothing I recognize from an American Halloween.

If the holiday sticks across the pond, hopefully it will evolve into something tamer. Right now it sounds less like a chance for children to dress up and get candy, and more an excuse for hooliganism.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-11-02 01:22 pm (UTC)
Once I had adults, without costumes but holding out a pillowcase, knock on my door on Halloween.

They were eerie--didn't even know (or bother to use) the "password" of "Trick-or-Treat!" They were unsmiling and silent.

I had a passing thought that they might want something like actual cans and boxes from my pantry, or even jewelry or small pieces of furniture! But I gave them a lot of candy and they left, without a thank-you.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-11-02 01:43 pm (UTC)
That is weird- and not in a good way.

I'm a shy, private person. I don't like strangers coming to the door.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-11-02 02:23 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way about strangers at the door, so I only keep my porch light on until about eight, when the children who are accompanied by parents have finished up for the evening. The older children--some teenagers--come to the door later, so I turn off my lights and read in a back room.

Sometimes I leave candy on the porch, to forestall people knocking loudly.

But I do think Trick-or-Treating is dying out here slowly, partly due to the efforts of community organizations to find safe alternatives.
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