This is the week of fireworks. Hindus celebrated Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, over the weekend.
And as the name suggests, there’s a lot of traditional activities to do with creating light, including fireworks.
And then of course there’s Guy Fawkes this coming Saturday.
But the way things have been going in my neighbourhood, you’ll swear Guy Fawkes started over the past weekend already.
I have a dislike for imported celebrations, but I especially dislike Guy Fawkes, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, of all the days we celebrate, Guy Fawkes must have the stupidest name.
Most of the kids who set off the fireworks don’t have a clue what it even means.
As a pikkie, I remember people telling each other to “stop making gai”.
So I just assumed that it had something to do with people teasing each other.
Later on I realised that I didn’t have a clue how to spell it, so I ended up writing “Gai Folks”.
It was only as an adult that I found it that Guy Fawkes was actually a Christian fundamentalist, who tried to blow up the British Parliament and failed.
He and his terrorist buddies were caught on November 5 and we have been celebrating his capture on that day ever since.
Now firstly, this all happened more than 400 years ago.
In fact, it happened at a time when the idea of sailing around the Cape was still a very bad idea, not to mention the idea of colonising the Cape.
In other words, the local natives had not even seen a white person before then, never mind heard of gunpowder and what it could do to a politician.
So why are we celebrating an event that happened long before we were “discovered”?
Secondly, I am not happy that Mr Fawkes got caught and that King James’ life was spared, but that is a religious argument for another day.
But I suppose I am alone here, as clearly thousands of young Cape Flats history buffs are great fans of King James and all that he did for the world.
Why else would they commemorate this day so willingly?
Lastly and most importantly, fireworks are now almost universally considered terrible ideas, especially the little “klappertjies” that children set off in the streets.
I actually can’t believe that my parents allowed us to play with these dangerous mini-bombs.
That is really what they are and every year there are stories of fingers, eyes and even whole hands being injured.
And that’s not talking about the brutality some of the kids act out against helpless animals.
It’s the kind of cruelty that again makes me wonder about the homes the kids are from.
I had a cruel thought myself during last year’s celebrations. I wanted to go set off fireworks all night outside the homes of the babbies who sell fireworks.
I also wanted to suddenly set off loud fireworks as close to their ears as possible, without deafening them for life.
I wanted to do this, so they could experience a little of what it must be like for my dog and all the other dogs out there, who must fear and hate this time of the year.
I am not one of those who put the comforts of pets above the needs of humans, but I do believe in not inflicting harm on another.
And I have seen how my strong and fearless dog is reduced to a helpless and frightened puppy.
Is there no way to stop mense from selling fireworks?
Or should we just accept we still have a long way to go as a nation? I think it was Ghandi who said that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”