Monday, 5 November 2007

November 5th Guy Fawkes Night

November 5th, the day that celebrates the foiling of the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament in 1605 in a secret plan to overthrow the King. Read the whole story in the above link.

As a child we looked forward to this celebration with great anticipation. Friends or other children in the street would get together and build an effigy of the guy. This was made with a set of old clothes, stuffed with whatever was to hand, and straw for the hair. It would then be taken round the street or sat in a cart on the street corner with children asking for “a penny for the guy”. These pennies were used to buy fireworks.

We would have a bonfire in the middle of the road and as hardly anybody had a car in those days traffic was not a problem. The only problem that I remember is making sure the fire did not crack the windows of the nearest house. Fireworks were quite small, maybe a Pinwheel, a couple of Rockets and a few small Bangers, but mostly we would have sparklers that children could hold themselves. A lot of the fun was roasting potatoes in the fire, and staying out after dark.
Now of course fireworks are much more spectacular and very loud. Public organised firework displays can be nothing less than stunning but today many people set off fireworks for every conceivable celebration in their back gardens and usually around midnight. At this time of year and through to New Year celebrations they can be heard almost every night. Apart from the nuisance and disturbance more is not always best. The fun and expectations of one single evening of excitement has now been dulled by the regular sounds and sights of peoples back garden antics often into the early hours of the morning. This year’s celebration being on a Monday, the displays lasted all Saturday and Sunday evening. All we had to do was look out of our bedroom windows to see displays in every direction one looked. Tonight is the real Guy Fawkes night so there will be many again, but I wonder how many children these days know just what the celebration is meant to be about. I read an article in my Newspaper today saying that it is possible that in another decade November 5th celebrations will probably have faded out and be overtaken by Halloween.

Thank you so much everyone for all your good wishes and birthday greetings. Wish I could thank you all in person.


Jane said...

Hi Barbara, I always used to love Guy Fawkes/fireworks, but since my youngest daughter couldn't stand the fireworks nor the crowds at organised events from being very small. We tend to watch every one else's displays from our windows.

Mob said...

That is very interesting. I had never heaard of Guy Fawkes. It is illegal where I live (Lake Tahoe, CA) to set off fireworks because of the danger of forest fire, but that still doesn't stop people from doing it.


Great story. It would be sad to see something that old to be discontinued but I guess that is the way of life. Too bad, sometimes, I think. connie from Texas

Willow said...

I knew about Guy Fawkes Day b/c I love to read history! The celebrations remind me of Fourth of July here in the US.
When we lived in South Central Los Angeles, people let off fireworks nearly nightly from May through December, and most of them were not legal. And sometimes you couldn't distinguish between the fireworks and gunshots. I'm glad your evenings have been safe and fun.

A Woman Who is: said...

I know what you mean about the love that hits you when you become a grandparent for the first time. I was not prepared for it. I can’t get enough of Eden. So fun to share this new experience with you.

Sara said...

Your Guy Fawkes night sounds a lot like our July 4th as far as the fireworks part goes - by that I mean, here in my city, where fireworks are illegal (but that doesn't stop anyone) we hear them going off all around the neighborhood for days before and after. Also on New Year's eve.

I've read many novels with Guy Fawkes Day mentioned and so I knew about it, but have never experienced it in person. I'm sure, since it goes way back, that my English ancestors certainly celebrated it. It's a big sad the tradition is fading and its meaning being lost to the upcoming generations, especially considering how long it's been going on.