Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Big bang boom


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket...One of the odder New Zealand institutions I've seen is that of Guy Fawkes Day, which, as "V For Vendetta" taught us all, "remember, remember, the fifth of November," commemorates a failed plot by a crazed Catholic activist to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the King of England back in 1605. Which somehow turned into a holiday where people blow up lots of fireworks, a kind of British version of July 4. Although considering the origins, it's kind of like having an Osama Bin Laden Day, when you think about it.

Fireworks,
you say? Not that different from the ol' US of A's tradition every July 4 and New Year's, eh? Well, not quite. The fireworks they sell here are major caliber, the kind that shoot up in the air 50 feet and explode or make huge thudding booms. They're far larger than any fireworks I've seen for sale to civilians in the US in the several states I've lived in. And they are LOUD, ye god – the prime minister (who lives in our neighbourhood) was quoted as saying it "sounded like Afghanistan" which isn't too far-fetched, minus the bombings and death and what-not. It's all a bit over the top.

Worse still, people seem to hoard their fireworks so you don't just have one or two nights of fireworks, but local Beavis and Butthead-types will regularly blow a few off from now until February.

And of course you get accidents like this one. Or this one.

Yeah, I like the idea of Guy Fawkes, and the sight of all those fireworks from the top of Mt. Eden last year was truly an amazing canvas, but I have to fall on the side of those who say it's a little too extreme a celebration here for its own good. Particularly when you consider we're thousands of miles from Britain and well on the way to being a true republic one day anyway. I'd love to see 'em ban the fireworks sales and just put on a few public spectacular shows.

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