ANE o ma earliest an fondest bairnheid memories taks ma back tae staundin in a park, surroundit bi fowk fa, jist like masel, were clartit in eggs, flooer, muck, an God anely kens fit ither keich. Aabody wis smilin an lauchin, an nae doot slichtly inebriatit. Iver since yon day, Ah hinna been able tae see past a guid blackening.

Ah suppose that onybody fa isnae affa aquaintit wi them would think that us Scots are aff oor heids enjoying an event sic as a blackening, fit is organised bi freens an faimly, usually a puckle o wiks afore a weddin, athoot the bride an groom kenin onythin aboot it. On the day o the blackening, the happy couple are tane by surprise, an are tied up wi tow, afore bein peltit wi aa o the disgustin things that aabody takin pairt can get their hauns on. Aifter bein clartit in the maist stinkin food, muck, etc., it is tradition for the couple tae hae feathers, as weel as tar, poored aa ower them, fit is far the name cams fae. Ance that’s been deen, aabody parades the bride an groom roon the toon in the back o a bogey or a truck, bangin the sides, an makin as muckle noise as possible tae draa aa o the attention that they can tae the noo muckit couple. Aftentimes the finale is tyin the bride an/or groom tae a post for aa o the warld tae see. The original reason for this tradition, fit nooadays is mair jist aboot embarrassin yer pals than onythin else, is tae bring guid luck tae the maryit couple tae be.

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Nae aabody sees this auld tradition through rose tintit glaisses though, as wis brocht tae ma attention a few wiks ago fan a colleague o mine put ma on the spot, an askit ma athoot ony context; “Should blackenings be banned?” The first response that sprang tae mind instantly was “dinnae be daft, of course Ah dinnae!”. But he then went on tae explain the reasonin ahint his objection tae the wedding tradition. His peer dug had been playin next tae his hoose, an had becam nae weel because o oil left ower fae a blackening party. Nae only was the faimly caused an affa lot o distress due tae the sickness o their belovit pet, but they were left wi a vet bill that would mak ye greet. Aa because o fowk bein careless whilst haein fit they thocht was jist a bit o innocent fun.

It gets ye thinkin. Traditions like this ane are a fantastic pairt o oor cultur, an usually Ah wouldnae think twice aboot supportin their continuation. But, Ah dinna ken foo it hasnae occurred tae ma afore noo, that mebbe the wye we dae blackenings needs tae be rethinkit, tae fit in better wi oor ongaung battle tae save oor bonnie planet. If the debris left ahint bi jist ae blackening can cause sic damage tae a pet dug’s health, think fit aa o the blackenings across the kintra are daein tae oor wildlife. Fowk fa are bein reckless wi their choice o materials are nae doot killin aa kynds o creatures. Aabody kens jist foo muckle damage an oil spill can dae tae oor beaches an marine life, sae fit why are they still gettin awa wi spillin it aa ower onywye they like at a blackening?

Aabody likes takin pairt in a blackening, but naebody iver seems tae like takin responsibility for daein the cleanin up o ane. Ye aften hear o complaints fae fowk fae hiv heen tae deal wi the mess an smell o auld fish an the likes, nae for days, but for wiks. This is far ye hae tae ask, is it richt tae allow blackenings in public places, or should they be restrictit tae private grun? Naebody likes tae be a party pooper, but mebbe it is best that sic events tak place on private grun, sae that public money doesnae gaung on cleanin up the mess o inconsiderate fowk. It jist seems tae be better for aabody involved if blackenings are held in ane o the party’s ain gairdens, or a privately ained park, sae lang as the landowner has gien their permission, an its’ aa set oot in advance fa is gaun tae be daein the cleaning up. Fit’s left ahint isnae the anely problem that cams wi haudin a blackening though…

Ye dinna hae tae dae ower muckle diggin tae ken that some brides jist dinnae want tae be blackent at aa. A haunfae o reasons spring tae mind fit why ‘at micht be. Probably the maist common ane is that in the days and wiks afore a weddin, the bride tae be pyes a lot o siller for, an puts a lot o time an effort intae the likes o hair an beauty treatments, sae that she’s leukin the bonniest she can be for her big day. Ye can understaun fit why the bride mebbe wouldnae want aa o that wark tae gaung tae waste, especially if aire’s a chunce that somethin that she’s blackent wi could cause an allergic reaction, or permanently chynge the colour o her hair or skin. An reid, itchy, visible rash, or a soot coloured heid fan it’s meant tae be bleach blond, is the last thing yer needin in the run up tae ane o the maist important days o yer life.

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Whilst the abuin should be respectit, if the anely reason a bride is against a blackening is vanity, an itherwise she would be happy tae hae ane, aire’s wye’s aroon it. Ah dinnae think aire’s onythin wrang wi daein it afore she’s heen ony treatments deen, as lang as ye mak sure that ye spier first if aire’s onythin she’s allergic tae. Aire’s ither reasons fit why a bride (or groom) micht nae want tae be blackent though. If they are feart or nervous aboot bein the centre o attention, an feel that they would be humiliatit, then it’s aye best tae jist respect that nae aabody has tae be blackent. Naebody wants tae be uninvitit tae the weddin!

Blackenings are affa guid fun, but we, as a society, are mair an mair camin tae realise that almost onythin that is seen as bein “jist a bit o fun” can cause mony a problem if nae deen richt. Sae tae answer the question put forrit abuin – blackenings shouldnae be banned. Fit aire is a need for though, is fowk tae be responsible fan they’re organising sic events, sae that they are a truly pleasant experience for aabody involved.