Aite, so you may or may not be aware of this, but Guy Fawkes day/night is a much bigger deal down in New Zealand than it will ever be in the USA. I’m thinking that’s probably because it’s directly between Halloween day/night and Election Day/Night for us Yankees. Oh, and our country’s head of state doesn’t represent a thousand-year-old-parlaimentary-democracy-that’s-actually-a-monarchy-that’s-actually-a-theocracy-stewarded-by-a-one-(wo)man-corporation-acting-as-both-head-of-state-and-head-of-the-Anglican-church… but that’s another conversation, right?
You know how the USA likes to blow things up and burn stuff and fill the sky with huge explosions once a year? New Zealand likes to do that too. It’s just that the Kiwis are (unsurprisingly) a bit more calm and orderly about it – and it happens on the 5th of November instead of the 4th of July. Not that we Wellingtonians couldn’t REALLY use something to look forward to around the 4th of July when it’s cold and dark and wet and miserable. Just sayin.
This year, instead of being off in remote parts of the South Island, I was right down in the swarming, seething mass of humanity at the waterfront. Front and center for the big fireworks display on Wellington Harbour. Just a bit weird to be watching fireworks while I’m dodging cold wind and rain instead of mosquitoes – but TOTALLY worth it. I didn’t care if it was claustrophobic. I didn’t care if it was all over in just 15 minutes. I didn’t care that the sudden ending caught me in a swarm of half of Wellington’s young population all at once and hopelessly cut me off from my friends. I actually didn’t even care much about the history and all the bloodshed and violence between Catholics and Protestants over the last 400 years that has happened along with this holiday. When it all boils down, I honestly didn’t care much about anything else at all because: hey… FIREWORKS!
I can think of only three other things in this world that are as distracting and mesmerizing for me as fireworks. I mean, come on: I’m in The Land of the Long White Cloud, surrounded by young and fun and friendly people from all over the world, and we’re all watching ridiculously huge airborne explosions that kinda’ look like golden rain and hearts and palm trees and terrifying deformed smiley faces. How is this NOT AWESOME?
Actually: it’s not very awesome if some drunk dude sits by you on the train and sets off firecrackers at your feet. I have a certain friend who might disagree about things being more orderly down here…