Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back In The Day

Tonight is bonfire night! What a beautiful evening it is for it too. If anyone’s confused and thinks I’m getting my dates mixed up then I just want to point out that we have our own one in this wee corner of the world. I’m not sure if it’s just a Donegal thing or if it’s practiced all over the country, but what I do know is that I have many happy childhood memories of this night in years long past. As I recall, there was always tough competition to see which part of the town would have the biggest and best blaze, and there was always a lamppost that caught alight. And, of course, everybody always stayed out far later than they were supposed to. *sigh* I’m feeling old these days.

Anyway, unlike the other bonfire nights ours doesn’t involve the symbolic burning of some reviled historical character. It dates back thousands of years and started off as a way of honouring the goddess Áine. Known today as St John’s Eve, it’s just one more of those pagan customs that survived by being soaked up into the sponge of Christian culture. At least I hope it’s survived, I’m not sure if kids still do it. You know the way it is these days, health and safety and all that malarkey. It’s probably illegal. Actually, it was probably illegal back when we used to do it.  I haven’t been out this evening and I can’t see any fires from my window but I did hear a few fire engines earlier so that’s encouraging (sort of).  Plus, I remember reading a few years ago that the celebrations have been given a new lease of life by Polish immigrants who have a similar custom to us here.  I hope so because it would be such a shame for such an old tradition to die out.


TheBlakkDuchess said...

Hope you have a wonderful bonfire night! I'm sure that this fun tradition will never completely die out... Far too many people enjoy igniting things for it to sizzle out! ^-^

Anthropomorphica said...

I agree, I think it's so important to keep these soulful traditions alive, they connect us to who we were.
Hope the night was full of glorious fire ;)

JJ Beazley said...

Does this have anything to do with:

'Being on the 23rd of June,
Oh, as I sat weaving all in my room.'

...'I saw a thrush, singing on yon bush
And the song she sang was The Jug of Punch?'

Róisín said...

Thanks ladies, but I actually stayed in. It's more a kids thing really, although next year I'm thinking of organising a bit of a party. I just need to find someone with a big enough space to burn things in!
JJ- I'm not really sure about that 'cause I've never heard it before. Sorry!

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