By Paula Manoli-Gray
Spring in Cyprus. There is no other season I both love and loathe in equal measure!
I love spring because it is the one time of the year that we are not living in an arid, dull desert… the colourful blooms, the stretches of green grass and the sight of butterflies are all wonderful!
And I am thankful for the perfect temperatures that ensure we are neither melting and reliant on air conditioning, nor too cold and inadequately able to warm our homes.
But spring also brings one of the worse experiences of living in Cyprus – and I am not talking about the pesky hay fever that has me sneezing and sore-eyed all season…
It’s the time of year that I personally feel that the island’s youth are holding me hostage with ‘traditional’ activities of Easter bangers, fireworks and bonfires. And I know I am not alone in finding the whole Easter period very stressful.
These Easter habits make life very unpleasant, and there is no escaping it.
I cannot simply switch off and put it down to culture when there are nightly booms and bangs in my neighbourhood. I have a constant feeling of dread that any second, screams of injury will penetrate the cacophony.
And I become sick with worry that a faulty pyrotechnic thrown in my garden or the streets or parks of my neighbourhood may accidently go off at a later date when someone is walking past.
Then there are the arguments that citizens have with kids running riot in their neighbourhood, stealing supplies for their bonfire, or letting off homemade explosives at all hours.
I hate it all.
And every year I marvel that there are not more injuries. And every year I fail to understand why there is no ban on the sale of pyrotechnics. And every year I hope that this will be the year that something gets through and society says ‘no more’.
But of course, when something is intrinsically linked to religion and culture, efforts to curb it are never really conducted wholeheartedly. It is more a case of minimising and containing what the authorities can, whilst allowing the rite of passage for the island’s young men to continue – as it did for their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers.
Because we all know, nothing will truly be done until an eye-opening tragedy shows us that just because something is tradition, it doesn’t mean it is right.