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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bonfire Night

   I haven’t blogged for a few days because I’m traveling. It’s out yearly sojourn south in our small motorhome to escape the cold, snowy winter of British Columbia. We head for San Diego for four or five weeks and then over to Tucson for a few months. This year the cold front came in a few days early, before we left. So we’ve been driving in below freezing weather. There’s snow on the ground, but the roads have been clear except for yesterday. We had about a twenty-five mile stretch that had ice on it.  We haven’t been able to hook up our water and sewer because it would freeze at night. Today I think we’re driving out of it. No snow on the ground, temperature in the low 40’s F and not going below freezing tonight. Life is good.

   Now about Bonfire Night—I have a friend in England who was telling me about it from her perspective. I enjoyed the history and thought I’d share it with you.
   Bonfire Night, Firework Night, Guy Fawkes Night or Guy Fawkes Day are all names for the celebration of the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. On November 5, 1605 Guy Fawkes was arrested guarding the explosives that had been placed under the House of Lords. Celebrating that King James 1 had survived an attempt on his life people lit bonfires around London. Months later the Observance of 5th November Act was introduced that enforced an annual day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. Things have changed since my friend was little.
   Firstly, children no longer make their own effigy of the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. In years gone by, these makeshift 'Guys' (old clothes, mostly stuffed with anything that came to hand!) would be propped up outside Stations, on street corners, and anywhere you care to think of! The kids were basically begging for coins to buy Fireworks with: calling 'Penny for the Guy'. (Not that a penny would have even bought one Firework, back then!) Also, everyone would have their Bonfires and Fireworks on the night of 5th November... whatever the weather. In modern times, most families now buy tickets to an organised display in a public park or recreation ground: much more pyrotechnics for your money. Usually these take place on the Saturday which is nearest to 5th November.

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