Thursday, July 8, 2010

Six months later, and countless holidays have gone by unobserved . . .

It has been a tumultuous six months, but it is time to get to work on the holidays.  Of course, we just celebrated a biggie, the Fourth of July.  I remember celebrations when I was just three or four.  They were so much smaller in scale, and yet they were deeply satisfying.  No humongoid fireworks (and don't get me wrong, I love humongoid fireworks - I saw two sets this year), no red, white, and blue-themed table ware, and yet there was a personal quality to it, and a sense of community that to this day is one of the most satisfying things about the holiday.

I remember best that all the children would gather in the small park in the center of our close-knit neighborhood, with parents in close attendance at the outer margins, hanging back but ready to dart in at a moment's notice.  We would be supplied with fireworks called sparklers that were essentially long, thin sticks, which we lit at one end and watched with fascination and the fizzed and crackled and yes, sparkled their way from top to bottom.

The trick was always when to abandon ship, as it were, and drop the sparkler before it burnt your fingers.  I remember a few unfortunate miscalculations to this day.

There are a surprising number of other Independence Days in July around the world.  Argentina, the Bahamas, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Colombia, Belarus, Rwanda, Peru, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Venezuela, and Vanuatu.  I will add the dates in July in my next entry, and perhaps a few local customs for celebrating Independence day in Belarus or Vanuatu, for example.

In the meantime, happy holidays!

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