I got the idea for this post from a cyber exchange with an American blogger. She wrote a post about things she loves about the fall. At the end she asked her readers ” what do you love about the fall?” I answered “burning the guy on bonfire night”. She quickly sent back a shocked reply asking “is there a typo in your comment?”
I am taking a blogging course and today’s challenge is to “write a post aimed at a particular reader containing at least one element you have not used before”. So here goes…
I realise that visitors from overseas might not know about bonfire night and how and why we celebrate it on November 5th each year.
Every year in England on November 5th, people light bonfires and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes.
Fifty years ago when I was young, children would make a dummy by stuffing some old clothes with straw and then beg for “a penny for the guy” for a few weeks before November 5th . (My mother did not approve of this so I did not join in). Most families would save up dead leaves and other garden rubbish and have a big bonfire and fireworks in their garden. Mothers prepared hotdogs and toffee apples. This was long before men learnt how to barbecue. Excited children saved their pocket money for sparklers, Catherine wheels, bangers and rockets.
In England it is now more usual for people to attend public firework displays with better health and safety regulations. Children often still have some smaller fireworks at home. Fortunately they are no longer allowed to buy fireworks or beg for pennies. If you go outside you will see fireworks being let off long into the night and some people still make a guy to burn on the bonfire.
What is the story behind bonfire night?
On the 5th of November 1605 a group of conspirators tried to blow up the houses of Parliament when King James 1st was visiting to open the new session. The conspirators wanted England to return to Catholicism. They even managed to place 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellar. Luckily for the King they were betrayed when one of the plotters wrote a letter to his friend who worked in the house of commons telling him to stay away. Guy Fawkes the unfortunate man who had been left to light the fuse was discovered. The rest of the plotters were arrested and executed as well. Later The king ordered that bonfires be lit to celebrate his narrow escape and this has become an annual event.
if you click the first line of this post you will find a You tube video of a well known nursery rhyme which commemorates this day which was originally known as treason and plot day. It is now usually called Guy Fawkes night or simply bonfire night.
Please to remember
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.