13 Oct 2010

The Fall of the House of Summer (Part 2)

Back to Autumn as a busy time of year, we have many celebratory reasons to justify it. Although it would be easy to get carried away and dedicate a thousand words per celebration, La Baguette Magique has chosen to stay short and sweet for the purpose of the exposé, hence condense the facts. But if I have missed out on important dates that you are aware of, please do bring them to my attention.



Interestingly our research has unveiled some overlapping in dates and symbolic figures, with a strong activity centered around 6th December.

Chronologically speaking, I would venture that the first event in the Autumn diary begins on the Eve of All Saints' Day, i.e. 31st October with Halloween. Already many bloggers (especially American) are gearing up for it big time with a multitude of creative ideas in the pipeline, and I cannot help but include this slightly tongue-in-cheek yet incredibly grown-up revisit of the iconic pumpkin, pimped up and tight up in black lace by lifestyle blog Daisy Pink Cupcake. Just forget about spooky carvings and drippy candle wax, this was so last Halloween! 



The following day, All Saints' Day, is when Catholics remember their dead. Usually in France families pay a visit to their graves and tidy/ flower them, typically with heather, chrysanthemum or cyclamen. It is a (subdued) time for remembrance and nostalgia, not the gleeful Autumn vibe that I am promoting elsewhere in this article.  

Remembrance Day a.k.a. Poppy Day (11th November) is also a time for that reflective, solemn mood. This year, for the first time in 15 years, I will not be able to physically purchase my poppy from one of the street poppy collectors and wear it with pride. Instead I might consider an online donation to the Royal British Legion, but still I will miss this very British symbolic way of commemorating Armistice Day.



Prior to that, another date I will miss out from the British calendar this year is Bonfire Night (5th November), based around the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when conspiracist Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament, and has been immortalised by popular culture ever since, probably as a deterrent to any would-be traitor to the nation. The night is an excuse for a good old bonfire (either held privately or by local councils - the latter deemed a safer option) where Guy's effigy is burnt. In the week leading to Bonfire Night, kids will take to the streets with their Guy effigy and ask adults for 'a penny for the guy'.

It is always damp/ rainy on Bonfire Night (especially in North West England), not ideal conditions for the many crackers, bangers and firework displays that accompany the event (and the run-up to it) to mimic the gunpowder explosions. Either private or public fireworks illuminate the skies of Britain throughout most of the night, adding to the ambient dampness to create a light temporary smog. In true party mood, many Brits will take advantage of Bonfire Night to hold a barbecue (their last of the year for most!) in their back-garden. You won't have truly experienced the spirit of Bonfire Night until you have sampled treacle toffees, toffee apple or parkin cake (a North of England treacle gingerbread speciality).



The official bonfires which I've attended previously always came with a funfair to prolong the fun into the night. Getting spooked on one of those old-fashioned ghost trains was my cherry on the cake! (to be continued)

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