Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Summers end

As you'll know from my last blog, autumn is my favourite time of year with it's fantastic array of amber tones. Typically it doesn't last very long and the colours disappear from the trees, carpeting the ground in fiery tones. But the end of October also brings a new colourful time, with amber tones once again dominating, but this one is manmade.

Halloween, derived from All Hallows Eve. A night when kids, young and old, are out and about, trick or treating in America or guising in the UK. America seems to go for Halloween in a big way, with the bright orange pumpkins taking centre stage. But in fact history shows that it originates in the Celtic regions, mostly Ireland, where it was said to be a celebration of summers end.

Traditional celebrations have us dressing up as ghouls and skeletons, scaring each other or watching scary movies. This most likely comes from the more direct meaning of All Hallows Day where the dead are celebrated.

This year I like the twist that artist Dmitri Galitzine has taken: he is going to attempt to row a hollowed out 800lb pumpkin from Gosport to the Isle of Wight, a distance of three and a half miles. As you do!

In the UK Halloween and Guy Fawkes night, the 5 November, all seem to roll into one, and last night it was past midnight before the fireworks stopped and the bonfires were dampened down. Guy Fawkes was famously a member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt on King James 1st life, by setting explosives below the House of Lords in 1605, and the 5 November is an annual event of thanksgiving for its failure.

The nights are suddenly darker earlier, the temperature has dropped, and the burning amber colours of the leaves have given way to ghosts and ghouls and pumpkin soup  followed by the fires and bright flashes of fireworks, all rolled into one, all in colourful celebration.

Summers end.

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