Families used to pull out the firecrackers on November 5 for Guy Fawkes Night.
Families used to pull out the firecrackers on November 5 for Guy Fawkes Night. Nenadpress

Celebrations in the past were simply crackers

Folks, I often look back at my childhood and wonder what on earth the adults were thinking.

For example, around this time of year they'd let us kids roam the neighbourhood with armfuls of firecrackers and boxes of matches.

Not that we complained, but normally they wouldn't have trusted us to look after a pet rock, so it did seem a bit out of character.

Of course, those of you old enough to remember would recall on November 5 we'd celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

Mr Fawkes, depending on which side of the religious fence you stood, was either a freedom fighter or a terrorist. But long story short, he and some of his Catholic mates were caught in the act of trying to blow up England's parliament in 1605 because they didn't like protestant King James sitting on the throne.

People took this sort of thing very seriously back then, not like in these enlightened times where we're much more tolerant, accepting and understanding of ... moving right along.

Guy and his mates were horribly tortured and executed because the king wasn't a fan of show-offs with explosives. For centuries afterwards, the English populace celebrated the day God (or dumb luck) saved King Jim.

Originally known as Gunpowder Treason Day, it morphed into Guy Fawkes Night and dummies of Guy were made and burnt on bonfires in British colonies around the globe. Eventually it became Cracker Night or, as we liked to call it, So Long Letterboxes Night.

I couldn't wait to be old enough to get my hands on the really big firecrackers the older kids were using to maim themselves with. But before I got the chance, the law changed and the fireworks were prised from my clammy hands forever.

Nowadays, at this time of year, parents don't let their kids to run wild in the streets with explosives; they prefer to send them out dressed up as superheroes and monsters to extort lollies from total strangers.

I don't know which one is more dangerous, but years from now people will probably wonder what on earth we were thinking.


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