I’m a bit of a traditionalist, its part of the reason I like and use some of the things I do. I use Zildjian Cymbals, their story stretches back close to 400 years and has survived through the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian genocide to be the leading name in their field. I’m also an avid fan of Wigan Rugby League, one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, likewise I follow the Chicago Bears (NFL) and Chicago Cubs (Major League Baseball) partly because I fell in love with the city a few years ago but largely due to their respective histories.
Christmas is fast approaching and I love it. I know its only just turned November but my preparations for the festive season are already on my mind. I’ll be heading down to my favourite butchers to place my order any day now. Christmas is great partly because you can carry on old family traditions but you can also start or evolve new ones as your life evolves. We forgo the Christmas Turkey in my house and get a Capon instead, this started just a few years ago when we moved into our home and hosted Christmas for the first time but it is firmly ensconced in our tradition.
We happen to be in a time of year where my love of tradition grates against what a large part of the population does and that is Halloween and Bonfire Night. Let’s start with the former. I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween, I think its nonsense. What is it even ‘celebrating’ I try and get in the spirit a little bit these days for the sake of my kids, at 6, 5 and 2 they love dressing up and think that knocking on doors and getting sweets is the greatest thing in the world. However, I believe the purpose of Halloween is to be spooky or frightening. Witches, Pumpkins, Vampires, Mummies, Ghosts even Zombies are in the right spirit but for a lot of what I see in pubs and via social media it may as well just be called fancy dress night. There’s no Halloween connection at all. Don’t even get me started about the bloke on the tube ‘dressed’ as Samuel L Jackson, complete with Black Face. His claim that he is just dressed as an actor that he likes would be fine but I think there is a line, considering the history of people ‘Blacking up’ I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to do. I’m starting to understand a little about White privilege (the more you know, the less you know has definitely come into play here) and I think many people of my race really don’t understand, or even want to understand the oppression suffered by anyone who isn’t white. Part of the reason I struggle with patriotism is the atrocities that have been performed by the British Empire throughout history, which is not taught in schools. There’s a lot to be proud of in this country, but we have a lot of shame too.
My other bugbear is Bonfire night or more the fact that it no longer seems to be just the night. The rhyme goes ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November’ but this year around me it has been remember the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of November too and they seem to have got excessively loud this year. Having worked in the ambulance service, and having a wife that still does, I firmly believe that fireworks should only be sold for professional displays. There are too many idiots out there with access to them and how the hell do kids get hold of them to throw them about?
I’d love to know about your traditions and what you like (or not) about this time of year (including Christmas). Stay safe out there.