My birthday last month came and went under a duvet, as hot as a bonfire with the second fever on my solar return in as many years. Eating Olaf’s backside on my Frozen birthday cake didn’t offset the running temperature. Anyone who says they don’t give me anything for my birthday had better keep their germs to themselves next year… Actually, my annual illness has a known cause. I live with a pensioner, who has a lot of pensioner friends. They all get their ‘flu jab in October, and I get ill as a result. But that’s enough man ‘flu of describing how bad my cold has been. I can’t really claim “the cold never bothered me anyway” when my cat is taking full advantage of my extra horizontal blanket time.
My birthday starts a rapid series of events. I start my personal new year, having clocked up another free trip around the sun, the clocks go back to normal (whoever thought that taking an hour off the start of the day and putting it on the end gives you a longer day is probably a politician), Halloween rolls around – Celtic New Year – and Bonfire Night tickles my pyrophilia.
This year’s musings are this –
Is Bonfire Night a protestant holiday, or one of solidarity for religious tolerance? Guy Fawkes worked for Catholic Rome to take out Protestant England. He failed, and Britain now has a diverse range of religious beliefs on its land. Do Protestants celebrate today as two fingers to those that tried to take away their religious freedom? Does everyone on this day share the sentiment that we are free to believe what we want, without imposing those beliefs on others?
Personally, Bonfire Night is a practical time for me. I put the garden to bed for winter by burning everything that won’t compost, and digging it into the soil for next year’s plants to use. Timing in with Halloween as Celtic New Year, and my birthday, it is a time I shed the old and make firm foundation for the new.
On an entirely shallow note, this picture of youth had to produce age identification to buy sparklers for Bonfire Night. Give that the age to buy sparklers in the UK is 16, and that was over half my life ago, I hugged the cashier for asking proof of age. Maybe the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty has some truth – I have been asleep most of my adult life due to CFS/ME, and I seem to be getting younger in appearance as the years go by.
This series of annual events had an add on five years ago. My poppy loving Dad died on November 11th (he always remembered the special events and brought flowers). This year November 11th is a new moon, which is the ‘true’ Halloween/Samhain, rather than the Gregorian calendar approximation. It is years like this that the sentiment “At the going down of the sun, we will remember them” holds greater significance. In the absence of a beacon of light through the night, the veils between worlds will be the thinnest, and we can see the potential through the void. We honour what has gone before us, and plan what we choose to manifest for the coming new year.
Are birthdays your own new year? What does this time of year hold for you?