Sunday, 4 November 2007

Please to remember the fifth of November

Please to remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot.

Variously known as Guy Fawkes' Day, Fireworks Night or Bonfire Night, 5 November commemorates the unsuccessful attempt (the Gunpowder Plot) by Guy Fawkes and other Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament when King James I was there during the State Opening in 1605.

Traditionally children used to make a "guy" out of old clothes stuffed with newspaper or straw, not unlike a scarecrow , then take the guy out on the street on a pram or something similar. They would ask passers by for "a penny for the guy" to be spent on fireworks. Ultimately the guy would be burnt on the bonfire. I can't remember the last time I saw children with a guy.

Once families would have had a bonfire and fireworks in their own gardens. Unfortunately there have been so many injuries from fireworks that people are nowadays encouraged to attend organised public events. In spite of the fact that the public fireworks are much more elaborate than anything ever put on in a private garden, it's something of a shame really, because the atmosphere is largely lost. I can still almost taste the burnt sausages and potatoes we used to cook around the fire. Nothing quite like it!


  1. We went to see a play at Chichester Festival last year called "5/11" which was all about the Plot. It was brilliantly written and performed and drew many parallels between the times then and now.

  2. I think they should totally ban sales of fireworks. As soon as the nights start getting darker, we are inundated with fireworks whether it's Bonfire Night or not.

    Get's really old after awhile.

  3. That sounds really interesting LR, though most sadly I've never heard of the play.

    Not sure about the *total* ban on fireworks, I'd be happy with a ban on the bangs, cracks and pops. Whooshes or fizzes, I don't mind them so much. And the sparkly bits are really quite pretty. But I do know what you mean, they go on for days before and after the actual event.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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