Raise your can of beer for Samhain


I should probably write something about the local Halloween celebrations, which seem to get rowdier every year. The whole thing just gets bigger all the time and the age range increases year on year. When I was young (cue Hovis ad music) the main feature of Halloween was pre-adolescent children dressing up as witches, harassing adults for money, and eating apples, nuts and chocolate until they puked.

Well, there is still plenty of dressing up and puking, but these days it takes the form of twentysomethings going out on the skite. It isn’t surprising that there should be plenty of revelry in South Belfast, as the Tyrone farmboys at Queens don’t need much excuse for a piss-up, but it was all over the place. My own area bore a distinct resemblance to Beirut at chucking-out time. Of course, most of these fireworks being let off are totally illegal, but hey, the rule of law doesn’t apply here.

And the costumes! There was so much flesh on display at the big knees-up at the Odyssey, the place looked like a strip club. Maybe I’m being overly traditional, but since when do sexy nurses and French maids form a part of Halloween?

Of course, Derry, the home of civic boosterism in the North, has to outdo everywhere else, and the biggest fireworks display in Europe was bigger than ever this year. Unfortunately for the poor sods trying to promote tourism in Derry, this is Derry we’re talking about, and each year it bears an ever closer resemblance to Dodge City. We’re talking thirty arrests, sixty A&E admissions, and a stabbing – I hear the clergy were calling for the off-licenses to close early, but in Derry that’s like trying to turn back the tide.

Not to mention that, at the peak of the night’s revelry, fire crews were being called out on average every 45 seconds. And a lot of those call-outs in the countryside, leading to suspicions that some farmers have been using Halloween as cover for illegally burning waste.

But it strikes me that this is what the New Dispensation means to your drinking punter. We have other festivals, of course. The Catholics have Paddy’s Day and the Prods have the Eleventh Night. Or, perhaps more exactly, the Ballymurphy spides have Paddy’s Day and the mad loyalists have the Eleventh Night. Hence the new significance of Halloween, as the one true cross-community booze-up. Whether they know it or not, those cans of the Lively Lager that the kids are drinking like lemonade are toasts to the peace process. Or rather the piss-up process.

1 Comment

  1. November 2, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    […] Defamer, the L.A. Gossip Rag wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI should probably write something about the local Halloween celebrations, which seem to get rowdier every year. […]

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