31 October 2010

Jack O' Lantern

No. 5342 - 29 Oct 2010 - 21:33:42

Science World plays its part in anticipation of Halloween.

Gastown, Vancouver

There is a history of ritual/cultural fires at this time of year. As the child of a proper English father I recall with fascination his annual transformation from mild-mannered parent to mastermind of costume capers with other fathers in the neighbourhood in aid of trick or treat duty and wild-eyed builder of fireworks displays in the front yard where he would make us hold sparklers in spite of our reluctance.

The Englishness of last century's British immigration to Vancouver coupled with the influence of Chinese culture and trade has blended to create a unique and satisfying autumn experience. The tradition of long-gone bonfires at this time of year has conspired with the availability of fireworks to provide the inspiration for an annual event that has happened, as a matter of course, for almost 100 years. I, have seen, from my bird's eye view, for the last three seasons, fireworks, in the dark, rippling along the horizon, spontaneously, for two or three hours, on Halloween. The smell of sulphur, wet molding leaves, and the tingle that comes with a proximity to fire is a compelling and mostly charming phenomenon of the season.