Although TimeAndDate.com has been reporting 4 something sunsets, London’s cloud coverage writes it’s own rules. I thought Michigan had trained me well for dark winters, but it’s a bit unsettling when daytime and lunchtime are almost synonymous… in November. As much as I find myself wishing for more sunlight, the darkness has created a most adequate backdrop for the festivities that have been taking place over the last two weeks. Since these Oct-Nov festivities are quite different here than they are in the States, I thought I’d share some brief perspectives:
31 October – Halloween
- Not as big of a celebration over here. Very optional participation.
- Costumes = frightening & gory. Lots of face paint: white faces with dark, sunken-in eyes and blood-red accents.
- I celebrated Halloween at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens Fire Festival. Turns out this is not really a Halloween celebration at all– more like a pre-game for Guy Fawkes and Armistice Day. No Monster Mash or Thriller, but a nice jazz rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework seemed oddly fitting.
- Perhaps this is an effect of large cities and smaller personal bubbles, but the fireworks were shot off much closer to the crowd than would happen at a public event back home. I’d bet that the people up front had to comb a good bit of debris out of their hair.
1 November – All Saint’s Day
- Typically a holy day of obligation within the Catholic Church, since Nov 1 fell on a Saturday festivities were lumped in with the Sunday mass on Nov 2.
2 November – All Soul’s Day
- …and since All Saint’s Day was pushed back, so was All Soul’s Day.
- From KCL’s Chaplaincy: “On Monday 3 November at 18.15 we will be having a Requiem in a Time of Remembrance. This will be a choral (Anglican) Eucharist at which the choir will be singing a Mass setting by Victoria. It is an opportunity to remember friends and family who have died and we will be reading their names out during the service. If you would like someone’s name to be read out there will be lists in the Chapel for you to write names on.”
- This service was of special significance because of the sudden loss of a KCL’s renowned choir director, David Trendell, the week before. Choir alum joined the regular choir doubling its normal membership for that evening. A truly remarkable service.
5 November – Guy Fawkes’ Night
- Remember, remember the 5th of November…
- It’s kind of crazy walking past main landmarks in V for Vendetta.
- aka: “Bonfire night” — I didn’t go to any bonfires, but there were lots of firework shows throughout the city on the 5th, 6th, 7th…
11 November – Armistice Day
- Between the poppy display at the Tower of London and the Poppy Appeal that has been going strong for the last few weeks, this feels more like a season than a 24 hour holiday.
- The Sunday closest to November 11 (this year– Sunday, November 9) is called Remembrance Sunday. I was out of London for this weekend, but I was told that there are some very proper services. At the church service I was attending in Cornwall, there was a moment of silence at 11am followed by special prayers for veterans.
Many thanks to all veterans (with a special shout out to my dad!) for the sacrifices you have made in serving our country.