Sunday, 17 October 2010

Tricked through treats

651 Traitors in Parliament

Not long to go until Halloween now and the hoards of hoodies dragging a younger gang member around estates dressed as a ghost demanding "treats" from innocent homeowners under threat of violence.

Before you start, I thought I'd research a little exactly where this bizarre tradition came from. It wasn't America, it came from the Holy Roman Church.

On October 31st 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 demands to the Church door of Wittenberg Castle for a reason. November 1st saw day when Papists would visit your house to demand gold in return for turning a blind eye to whatever sins you had commited. You could literally buy your way out of Hell and into Heaven by waving sufficient coinage at the priest. Protection money for the afterlife, payable right now, to the Holy Roman Church in person.

Many protestants in Europe still celebrate by dressing up as fake Popes or evil nuns and extracting "treats" from their neighbours on promise of not creating hell for them.

So do as I do when the kids come knocking. Give the youngest one a can of lager (no law against it) and wave them on their merry way to your enemies houses where they can puke through the letter boxes to their hearts content, bless 'em.

On a separate note, Guy Fawkes day (or bonfire night) on November 5th was called Traitors Day until Parliament abolished it in 1859. The irony that 650 traitors now sit in the House of Commons is not lost on me. Oh, and effigies of Guy Fawkes being burned on bonfires is relatively new. Until then, it was always an effigy of the Pope that went up in flames on "Traitors Day". No wonder so many Politicians are Catholics. Taking money by menaces on false promises is second nature to them.

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