Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"And how do we keep our balance?"


Some wise words from Tevye there (portrayed by the brilliant Topol in Fiddler on the Roof) and the Rabbi's quip reminded me of the concept of National Personal Autonomy that I mentioned couple of weeks back (as did Tevye's reference to "...the others in our village...we don't bother them and, so far, they don't bother us.")

What are we without our traditions? Surely we lose a piece of our souls...

I've always loved this time of year. This morning on my way to work I kicked up the leaves like a young'un, and it helped me remember I was at home in England. This weekend the clocks here 'go back' - that's a strange 'modern' imposition that's become almost a tradition in itself in that that reminds us we're heading toward the Winter months. Culturally there's a lot coming up: Halloween continues to twist, turn and develop. When I was a lad Trick or Treat was just coming into vogue over here. I remember it, but never partook. Now Apple bobbing I did go for! The following week Guy Fawkes Night was always one of my favourites.

The 11th of next month of course is Remembrance Day. But important though it is, this national commemoration has eclipsed Martinmas which is a pity in my book (we've just had Michaelmas). According to my copy of  A Dictionary of English Folklore by Jacqueline Simpson and Steve Roud, goose traditionally consumed at Martinmas was used to predict the weather: If the breast bone had light marks things would be fine, but if they were dark it would be poor. The front of the breast bone was for the weeks before Christmas and the back predicted the post-Christmas days. I think that's lovely. For us tribalists who base our identity on common origins, it is vital we take out our nearly forgotten elements of folklore, give them a shake and put them on as good as new again.