Friday, 4 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Night

'Remember, remember, the 5th of November' - that's the rhyme I grew up with here in the UK, as we celebrated bonfire night each year. It's also known as Guy Fawkes Night, after the intrepid man, who along with several co-conspirators, tried to blow up James 1 and the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Fawkes was actually caught in the act in the cellar beneath the building, hence his everlasting fame.

Needless to say, the plot failed and all of them were executed. To mark the infamous event, we still celebrate Guy Fawkes night all over Scotland with huge bonfires and fireworks. Many of them are now official displays organised by local councils as that's generally a safer option. But we had great fun as children, when our father set off the fireworks in the back garden. In later years, neigbours and friends often got together to make it a bigger event for all the children. Any large piece of waste ground made a good base for the bonfire.

One of the traditions weeks before the event was when some of the children made a makeshift 'guy' and wheeled it around on a barrow asking for a "penny for the guy". Adults knew this money would go towards the fireworks bought for the big night. The 'guy' itself was then put on top of the bonfire. Food played an important part in the evening's enjoyment. Since November is usually cold, everyone wrapped up in warm hats, scarves and gloves and looked forward to hot food like potatoes, sausages and soup while watching the fireworks. Now, I'll have to find out where the nearest bonfire event is taking place tomorrow evening!



Teresa Ashby said...

I remember my poor dad setting off fireworks in the back garden and every time he lit one, I ran off and hid! I used to love sparklers though - as long as someone else was holding them!

Hope you have a good evening tomorrow :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Teresa - I was always fascinated by the Catherine Wheels and thought they were going to spin off and hit me!

Anne Gallagher said...

Funny, in my latest book, I wrote a line using Guy Fawke's Day as a reference, and being American, all of my readers didn't get it. They told me to change it. And I told them I couldn't, as the book's setting was in the UK, and November 5 was the only major holiday there was that I could use for the line in the scene.

Thanks for the explaination.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Anne - good for you sticking to the line in your book! It really is celebrated here - on the actual bonfire evening at least.