Monday, November 05, 2007

I Remember

Photo not mine

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Remember, remember... Although it's not a public holiday 'Bonfire Night' or 'Guy Fawkes Night' is a big celebration in the UK. It marks the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 which was a failed attempt by a group of provincial English Catholics to kill King James I of England along with his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening. Although this celebration is synonymous with the name of Guy Fawkes the plot was in fact led by a man called Robert Catesby. Fawkes notoriety is likely due to his being placed in charge of executing the plot because of his military and explosives experience.

Traditionally 'Guys' which are effigies of Guy Fawkes are burned on bonfires and fireworks are let off to mark this date. Children would often make a 'Guy' and then ask for a 'Penny for the guy' in order to raise money for fireworks. However, it is rare to see this anymore, and I suspect with inflation being what it is, the entreaty is probably nearer to ten quid for the guy.

I was hoping to go to a fireworks display this year as I have never outgrown 'ooh-ing' and 'ah-ing' at them as they bang and crackle and light up the sky like an exploding rainbow, but I ended up working late instead. I can still remember my first Bonfire Night. I was very young so as it is cold this time of the year, mum watched with me from the warmth of the bedroom. We had the lights off and waited for my poor father, wrapped up in a big coat, to light the fireworks. I remember him running around the garden like an erstwhile pyromaniac, lighting fireworks and then retiring to a safe distance before the rocket would whoosh into the air. I thought it was magical. I still do.

20 comments:

kenju said...

I am sorry that you had to work late and couldn't see it this year, Bob-kat. Maybe next time!

rashbre said...

I like the 'retiring to a safe distance phrase'. I'm sure thats the exact wording of the old style fireworks where it strated with 'light the blue touchpaper'. Nowadays the warnings take up most of the product packaging and for some bigger foreworks you need a certificate before they can be purchased.

Still, better to be safe with explosives.

R. Sherman said...

The relationship between the ephemeral beauty of fireworks and human creativity requires more coffee than I've had at the moment to adequately express. Maybe when I've had another couple of cups, I'll be thinking straight.

Cheers.

Fizzy said...

I spent the day teaching the kids about the firework code. It was something that I did when i was in primary school and I just loved it. We drew pictures of fireworks... great

.:mar said...

This is all very new to me...I guessed I missed that history lesson at school!
I love the big fireworks, professionally done as I am afraid of the domestic type of things...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I feel the same way about fireworks dear B-K..I've always found them completely magical....All the BEAUTIFUL colors bursting into the night...July 4th is the only time we have fireworks here, but I think I said before, it is all in a contolled manor....

Too bad you had to work late!

Shephard said...

What a nice memory. I've always wondered about the particulars of this event/"holiday." Interesting.
~S

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm smiling at the image of your dad. It brings back memories of my own.

diyadear said...

hey terrific fireworks.. hope u had a gr8 time!!!

Niall said...

I heard someone explaining about 'The Firework Code' "It's simple to understand...light the touchpaper and retire...it's not rocket science!" :-O

November Rain said...

sorry you missed it

I never heard of this until V for Vendetta came out
I had no idea it was a holiday

btw thanks for visiting my blog

November Rain said...

well looks like Michelle is sending me back

gautami tripathy said...

Diwali is day after tomorrow. We are going to have fireworks then. Gift exchanging has already started!

Michele sent me here to learn more about Guy Fawkes night.

utenzi said...

I guess you'll have to hold off until the New Year celebration for your next big fireworks fix, BK. It's not all that far off.

Tawcan said...

It's too bad that you missed it. On the bright side there's always next year. :)

Sent here by Michele.

Sleeping Mommy said...

I'm a big fan of history, thanks for sharing this bit of it.

Hello! Michele sent me!

Thumper said...

Like November rain, I had no idea about guy Fawkes until V For Vendetta came out.

That's kind of embarrassing to admit...

Here via Michele's today!

Melody said...

Thanks for the history lesson B-K. We used to celebrate Guy Fawkes here in Oz too but then they banned it. They made fireworks illegal and you can now only buy them legally in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Too many people were being injured and burnt by them or something. I have a feeling a few young kids died and it was banned from then on.

I have great memories of 'bombfire nights' with family friends etc., when I was little. Thanks for the memories!

Hey, not to say that Australia don't ever have firework displays. I think at any given opportunity they are used and I too still love them and owww and ahhh over them. Pity Monet is petrified of them.... *sigh*

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for coming on back to comment...I dearly appreciate it, knowing how incredibly busy you are....I LOVED what you said about some people being insular...Yes, indeed....you put that in a very very nice way, dear B-K....lol...
And I agree, Truly great great people ARE genuinely interested in everything around them--and especially, other people.

Beckie said...

I am embarrassed to say that before I started reading blogs I didn't know about Guy Fawkes night.

Sorry you missed it this year.