Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Remember, remember the 5th of November

The British may not have Thanksgiving and they may not do Halloween well at all, but they can offer me Guy Fawkes night which is also known as Bonfire Night. Always on the 5th of November, it celebrates the day when Guy Fawkes and his cronies tried to blow up Parliament and failed. Traditionally people would burn statues of Guy Fawkes in effigy, but it has since escalated into burning anything they are against. It is a day to make a political statement for the year.

In 2002 it was a statue of Bush and this year they had a papier-mâché hand holding a cigarette due to this years ban on smoking in doors. It is a holiday that is taken very seriously in England and for months we have heard fireworks being set off around town.

We went to Lewes with a friend where they are quite barbaric about it. They have 6 societies that all do their own bonfire. They start at the high street in town and have a big procession. Then each society separates for it's own fireworks display and bonfire. My friend was telling me that at one of the societies they have a person dress up like a catholic priest, but with fireproof gear, and the priest stands on a pulpit preaching and they throw lighted fireworks at him.

We followed the Waterloo Society which ended up being the best way to go because we got right up to the fire and could see the fireworks from all the other societies surrounding us. It was beautiful! At the end they burn their
papier-mâché statues in effigy, they are full of a ton of fireworks that they set off from inside. I couldn't get any pictures of it because there was so much it was hard to see anything at all on the ground.
This blog I read has a great article about the beauty that is Guy Fawkes day. Below are the pictures that I got of the experience. It was definitely an entirely different kind of day from the fourth of July.

I swear it felt like we were in Vietnam!

By the firelight

Up close and personal

Fireworks over the fire