The “Holidaze”

This is the time of year when the Holidaze sets in: the dazed, disoriented feeling that comes from an overload of candy, twinkling lights, forced cheer, and marketing blitz.

London is in full swing.

The American candy-fest known as Halloween has made its way across the Pond.

I discovered that the very American neighborhood in St. John’s Wood overflows with children of all ages, costumed and ready to score candy along the townhouse-lined city streets.  Unlike the suburbs, where one must actually cover some distance between houses, it is easy to fill a bag in the city without breaking a sweat.  Jackie was face-painted and ready to go!

The difficulty is in carving a path to the door, navigating one’s way among the throngs of people out to celebrate.

It feels a bit like a masked mosh pit!

Katie wisely stayed behind with friends and passed out candy. By 7:00 pm, most homes had dispensed their thousand treats and posted notes to their doors that read, NO SWEETS.  Not-deterred, either obstinate or illiterate children rang the doorbells late into the evening.





Bonfire Night is a huge event on November 5th, celebrated with tremendous fireworks displays throughout London.

This past weekend, it sounded like London was under siege in another blitz with all the fireworks booming throughout the night.

The history of this holiday is interesting.  In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes, Britain’s most notorious traitor.

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion.  This was not to be.

Disgruntled, a group formed and decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament hoping to kill the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.  Guy Fawkes was in the cellar of the parliament with the gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th.  He was caught, tortured, and executed.

The Brits commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes with bonfires and fireworks and by burning an effigy of Guy.

I can’t help but say in American vernacular, “Poor Guy”! (pardon the pun)or in British parlance, “Unlucky”!

Finally, without the buffer of Thanksgiving, there is no holding back the behemoth that is Christmas.

Stores are decorated, catalogs are printed, merchandise is packaged, and lights are twinkling throughout London.  Justin Bieber  showed up yesterday to officially light up the Westfield Mall!  How’s that for star wattage?!

Though I must tell you that only in London will you find the following decor: holiday umbrella lights!



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