IT’S amazing how some traditions have remained, not just over a few decades but over thousands of years.
In the past I haven’t taken a particular interest in the lighting of the Olympic torch but, as it is preparing itself for a long journey across the UK in the run up to the games, I thought I’d take a look at the process.
I was gobsmacked that they still use Ancient Greek techniques to light the flame, with the people involved all dressed in togas and costumes from the time of heroes, and the flame itself still being ignited by the rays of the sun.
It seemed the only thing that was different last week compared to two thousand years ago was Sebastian Coe.
As I’m sure you know, public opinion is still very much divided on London 2012. It has cost a lot of money – of course it has – but I would wager that the amount of jobs that the regeneration has created, and the amount of cash that the Games will bring in to the country outweigh the outlay.
It really is a once in a lifetime event and I can’t wait to get swept up in the excitement.
The torch is coming to Northamptonshire of course, and it travels through the county on Monday, July 2. It’ll be braving the roads out of Northampton at rush hour – rather the torch than me – and then passing through Wellingborough and Isham before stopping off in Kettering. In the afternoon it will head to Geddington, then Corby and Dingley, before moving on to Leicestershire.
I, for one, know that I’ll be standing by the side of the road cheering the torch on. It represents more than just a load of expense, it’s an icon! It’s something special that since the late nineteenth century has been bringing people together around the world and, even before that, in Ancient Greece, signified a time for community.
I wonder how many other old world traditions are still alive and well. When I was a kid there were still maypoles everywhere – something that dates back hundreds of years.
Do you still see them today?
I suppose that, what with this being the 21st century, it’s time for a whole load of new traditions ... and if we want to remember them in years to come we can just store them on our Sky+ boxes or “like” them on Facebook!