It's Halloween tonight and that can mean only one thing in Dublin: fire.
It's a night for bonfires and fireworks. Hopefully, not together, but I wouldn't put it past some people. All day I've been seeing kids, teenagers really, running thru town with car tires, carrying other burnable bits of debris, and generally looking like they robbed Fred Sanford. And it's not vandalism; they're gathering for the bonfire tonight. There will be several around town, none of which, according to Steven in my Italian class, have any purpose other than to burn crap. That's really it. No singing or dancing around the fire, no roasting marshmallows or making s'mores; just set something alight. Although given the fact that many of them are built of rubber tires, I suppose the local emergency rooms should be thrilled there is no food involved in this ritual. But it does strike me as odd that this ritual is so accepted and yet the opposition to the proposed incinerator nearby is surprisingly strong. Just a thought from a crazy foreigner.
In many ways, I prefer the fireworks, bangers as they're called here. It's an appropriate term and I'm embracing it as the night wears on. Think 4th of July only less organized. Not Black Cat firecrackers, we're talking the big guns, the ones that shoot high in the sky and can be seen for miles around. The ones that make Roman Candles look like sparklers, which incidentally, they don't have here. It's hundreds of one man shows, which only translates to lost sleep. (When did I get this old?)
I remember my first year here, lying in bed, just drifting off, when they started. I hadn't been out of LA that long, so it scared me in a way that has nothing to do with too much caffeine. I couldn't really tell if there was gang warfare erupting nearby, so I crept to the window and prised open two of the slats in the blinds. As soon as I saw the first red rosette in the sky, I started to laugh. Tonight I can hear a lot more than I can see and since it's 9:30 I can only pray they stop at a reasonable hour. However, the moon is high and the sky is clear, so I think I'll be awake for awhile. It wouldn't bother me, one night a year, but they've been banging on for 4 days now and will continue to do so for another 2 or 3. I feel sorry for Irish dogs.
As for passing out candy, I had Italian tonight and arrived home too late for the tykes, unfortunately. But we did have a discussion in class tonight, and children of a generation ago (give our take) arrived at your door and said "apples or nuts please" and would receive exactly that, apples or nuts. It was a poor country for a long time. Or they would say "help the halloween party" and get a bottle of vodka. (ok, I made that vodka part up) But they get a week off school, which in my book is better than mini-candy bars. Or vodka.
German co-worker, however, will still be receiving her treat. Wish me luck. I can hear the Mission:Impossible theme song now.