Tag Archives: Halloween

Happy Halloween!

26 Oct

It’s Friday 26th October 2012, and for the folks of Kilmarnock, and surrounding areas, that means it’s Halloween!

Despite the fact that the rest of Scotland and the world celebrate Halloween on the 31st October, holding Halloween on the last Friday of the month has been a local custom in Kilmarnock for as long as anyone can remember.

Me dressed as Spongebob Square Pants in 2007

As a kid it never occurred to me that this tradition was odd. It wasn’t until I went to University in Dundee, and then started working in Glasgow, that I realised we did things differently in Ayrshire. Every year, it’s always met with the same humour and amazement by my friends and colleagues, as I discuss my plans for Halloween and tell them about this little known tradition.

There’s no real explanation as to why it exists today, but one suggestion is that it dates back to the industrial and mining past of the town when workers were paid on Fridays, and so they had a little bit of spare money to spend on sweets for the kids before it all went on food and bills.

I always laugh at the thought of what new comers to the town  must think of this tradition. I hope locals tell them in advance of Halloween and they aren’t left to wander the empty streets of Kilmarnock on the 31st of October!

Nonetheless, I’m quietly proud of our little peculiar custom and hope that it continues for many years to come!

Happy Halloween folks of Ayrshire!

Me dressed as fried egg in 2006

Fireworks and Face Paints

5 Nov

Last weekend I took my first trip out of Daegu down to Busan, the second biggest city in Korea on the south coast, to a Fireworks Festival. The festival is now in its 7th year and it really is something to see! Around 1.3 million people come to the city every year to see the fireworks from Gwangalli beach, the bridge, and also from boats on the water. It is held over 2 weekends and I went down on the second weekend which also coincided with Halloween.

Gwangalli Beach

Koreans aren’t too big on Halloween, but with so many foreign English teachers in Korea it is still celebrated in style. This year however, I decided not to go all out after last years scenario which ended in the Police taking me home (not my finest moment). Instead I opted for some subtle face paints, my friend Mel on the other hand, went for it! As we made our way to the beach in the afternoon to get a good spot for the fireworks, the Koreans were bemused by our appearance. Some stopped in their tracks just to stare and the braver ones came up to ask for a photo – we happily obliged looking like this…

Face paints

The forecast was rain, and despite holding off for most of the afternoon, by the time the fireworks started at 8pm it was pouring down, defeated and soggy, we headed into a bar on the beachfront to watch it from there. So my photos aren’t great. But someone posted a 20 minute video on YouTube of the Fireworks – they really are awesome! If you don’t have time to watch it all, skip to the last few minutes.

Another first last week, was my journey back to Daegu on the KTX – the bullet train of Korea. It goes at 300 km/h and you can travel the length of the county in under 3 hours – pretty impressive. It’s also fairly cheap and without doubt the best way to travel in Korea to get the best view of the amazing scenery. Even my extreme hangover didn’t spoil the journey!