Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Bonfire Night

I hope all our readers had an excellent Halloween. Unfortunately for me the holiday isn’t celebrated to the same extent as it back home here in the UK. Don’t get me wrong there are still loads of (drinking) parties but I suspect it’s not as fun for the kids. I bet it has to do with the whole knocking on strangers’ doors asking (or begging, however you look at it) for candy, that somehow doesn’t equate here. Not to fear though we do have another holiday that follows closely behind Halloween that is fun for the whole family: Guy Fawkes Night aka Bonfire Night

It all started on the eve of November 5 1605, when an assassination plot of King James I of England failed and its conspirators were caught. You see the Royal Family (and consequently most of parliament) at that point was Protestant and the Catholics wanted a change. The plan was set in motion a year earlier by Robert Catesby who commissioned Guy Fawkes, an explosives expert with military experience to prepare the explosives that would have been used to destroy the Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it) the plan was disclosed and stopped before Guy Fawkes could set fire to his explosives on the night. He, along with the other ‘terrorists’ were hanged, drawn and quartered.

Back in the day effigies of ‘Fawkes’ (who became the most well known of the conspirators) were placed on bonfires (hence it being known as bonfire night) on the anniversary of his capture however now it’s a little more civilized and more family friendly….firework displays are set to music and candy apples, mulled wine and hot dogs are enjoyed by all. But why do we celebrate this holiday? Is it because Fawkes and Co were caught and the Royal Family and the establishment saved OR is it to honour his attempt at overthrowing them (a la V for Vendetta)? I guess it’s to each their own….All I know is that tomorrow night I will be enjoying some candy apples while I feast my eyes on some lovely fireworks.

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