It’s Guy Fawkes Day this Thursday (5 November), something that I experienced last year as a fresh arrival, and having just came from a country where fireworks are banned (outside the nation’s tiny capital) it was quite a stir.
People freely let off fireworks in their backyards, on the streets and along the riverbanks, and shiny, popping sparkles littered the skies like it was New Year’s Eve, fascinating the humans, but freaking out the house cats.
It’s a fascinating time to visit England on Guy Fawkes Day, and it’s not just about the fireworks. Various places have big bonfires (like the ones you see in medieval witch hunt films), and some places even dress up and re-enact the arrest of Guy Fawkes, such as the Lewes Bonfire Celebrations.
Essentially, the entire day is celebrating the fact that an old terrorist act failed in November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a Catholic gunpowder expert decided he’d had enough of the Protestant prosecution of Catholics, and decided to blow up the Parliaments.
Yes, I did use the word ‘terrorist’. It’s a young term but an old concept. It’s funny that we apply the word only to acts taken by what we call ‘Islamic’ groups, but when it’s one of the fellow Christians doing exactly the same thing, we call them conspirators instead.
Anyways, short political rant over, what it means now is every year, we get to blow up little bits of gunpowder in its all colourfulness, to ‘celebrate’ the fact that this country is still largely Protestant.
And a chance to play with fire and fireworks.
At least we’ll have some spectacular skies the whole week!