Sunday, November 07, 2004

Robin enjoys Bonfire Night!

Whizz! Bang! Robin!
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hello folks.

This is Robin enjoying the fireworks at the Guy Fawkes celebration at Alexandra Palace in London.

For those readers who don't know what Guy Fawkes Night (aka Bonfire Night) is, it commemorates the day Mr Fawkes from York (where my dad lives) tried to blow up the Houses Of Parliament in 1605 by placing lots of barrels of gunpowder in the cellar (which is why it's also known as The Gundpowder Plot).

Unfortunately for Fawkes, the plot was discovered and he was caught on November 5 1605. Naturally not best pleased with his behaviour, the King decided to hang, draw and quarter him.

Every year since then, Brits have celebrated Fawkes' failure by letting off fireworks and, often, burning an effigy of Fawkes on a bonfire (hence Bonfire Night).

(This is actually quite educational for me too - had to look for a lot of it online, but obviously every schoolkid in the UK knows the story backwards!).

So, we went up to Ally Pally last night with thousands of north Londoners and had a great time - it's quite a major, organised display and the fireworks were very impressive (better than the ones that have been set off every night for the past few weeks on every street in Britain by pesky teenagers which just go 'weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....BANG!' rather annoyingly).

Bonfire Night rocks - you can keep your Halloween which seems to be built around its tacky merchandising. One of the great things about Nov 5 is that the only things shops can sell are fireworks and perhaps some bonfire toffee. So, as a celebration, it's pretty much exactly the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the history of bonfire night! I read a mention of it in a Harry Potter book, but never knew what it was.

I would like to invite Robin to the US for our Independance Day celebrations next July 4th - some fantastic fireworks displays - along with hot dogs and beer!

Hope the wedding plans are heating up!

KJ in the USA

Anonymous said...

That display sounds great! Real shame there don't seem to be as many firework displays as there used to be - most villages used to have them - but now because of soaring insurance premiums there don't seem to be as many. Totally with you on Halloween - tis well consumerist. Long live Bonfire Night!! Rob

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, especially Kathy in NJ. Thought you'd be interested to hear of an experience Peter and I had in Devon last week. Bonfires were being prepared and we were especially struck by one in Great Torrington - a massive replica of HMS Victory being built out of old pallets. We'd vaguely thought of going there on Bonfire Night but didn't. Good job too. Drove through on Saturday to see ship still standing and noticed a big sign saying its being prepared for August 2005 to celebrate Trafalgar and will be torched + fireworks then! We did not realise anything was being prepared for the anniversary, and now Kathy says she is coming over for it. What else is going on?

Good to see more postings and comments. Take care everyone. Sarah/Mum

Anonymous said...

Apologies to Sarah/Mum for my tardiness in replying. It is fantastic that Great Torrington has a massive pallet version of HMS Victory for the celebrations. It'll be a brilliant bonfire, I'm sure. As to what is going on for the celebrations, I must say that I am slightly fuzzy on the details. I am meeting a bunch of friends in Portsmouth on the anniversary weekend itself for a Hornblower/Nelson celebration. Much ado about visiting the dockyards and a Regency costume supper to boot. There's some more local info on the Trafalgar 200 website:

I have to say that it will be exciting just to be beyond the "airport zone", since the only British soil I've seen is the highway between Heathrow and Gatwick. :D

~ Cathy from NJ

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