Nov 07 2004

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot…

by in United Kingdom, Western Europe

I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
’twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah!

Guy Fawkes!

For the past week, fireworks have been lighting up the skies of London. I though that us Americans loved fireworks, but the British take the cake on this one. I swear to God, I could look out my window between 6-10pm any night this past week and see 2-3 fireworks shows (and “shows” could be taken as private citizens who are setting them off, mind you) going on. Weird.

So last night some friends and I went to Battersea Park for Bonfire Night. What is Bonfire Night, you ask? Well, it is held on the night of November 5th (or, as in our case, November 6th) all across the UK to commemorate the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament in 1605:

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 involved a desperate but failed attempt by a group of provincial English Catholic extremists to kill King James I of England, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in one fell swoop by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening.Wikipedia

Guy Fawkes trying to blow up Parliament! OMG!

The British celebrate this night by throwing an effigy of Guy Fawkes into the fire (and sometimes the Pope, that dirty Catholic!), watching fireworks, and, of course, drinking beer.

We spent our time at Battersea Park staring at a huge bonfire (oooh…fiiiire) and eating burgers, chips, and candy floss (aka cotton candy). The fireworks were supposed to start at 8pm, but we were first subjected to an incredibly odd giant angel figure that was attached to a crane and dancing to the music of Tim Burton (how you can dance to Tim Burton is beyond me, but whatever). I knew I wasn’t the only person watching this and thinking, “WTF, chap?” because the dancing angel was met with resounding boos from the crowd of thousands. The firework show started, and the booing was replaced with “OOOOOOH” and “AHHHHH.” I must say that the fireworks were really quite impressive, and perhaps even better than most 4th of July displays in the US. And all of this to commemorate a failed terrorist attack! It boggles the mind….

I was disappointed, though, that there was no effigy of Guy Fawkes thrown into the fire! WHAT IS THE POINT OF GUY FAWKES NIGHT IF YOU DO NOT THROW GUY FAWKES INTO THE FIRE??? Must I remind you of your traditions!? Fire safety be damned, I want to see an effigy thrown into the fire! Actually, I was waiting for some disgruntled Brits to throw a Bush or Blair effigy into the fire, as I’ve heard happened last year. It would have been fun to dance around a giant bonfire while some straw stuffed effigy with a Bush mask slowly went up in flames. Alas, it didn’t occur!

I took some pictures last night but I’m lazy. I’ll upload them someday…

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  1. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent, To blow up King and Parli’ment | At Home In The Wasteland Travel Blog - September 17, 2011

    […] celebration involving bonfires, fireworks, and alcohol. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed that, while attending Bonfire Night festivities in 2004, there was no effigy of Guy Fawkes. I mean, seriously, what’s the point? Sadly, […]

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