18 votes

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot...

I see no reason why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

Today is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes night, where we commemorate the 1605 plot by Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics who planned on blowing up Parliament and King James I to set off a popular revolt and putting a Catholic Monarch on the throne.. We do that by burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire, eating black peas, treacle and parkin and terrorising pets everywhere by setting off fireworks.

Unfortunately because of its proximity to Halloween and silly things like "safety" many of the traditional celebrations are dying out. Kids used to essentially beg for money by stuffing clothing and asking for "a penny for the Guy" which they'd use for sweets or fireworks. Locally made bonfires are also becoming rarer with most these days done by professional and regulated firework companies and organised by the council so it feels more like watching a show and less like getting together with your neighbours and family.

Are you going to any events, hosting one, do you have any stories or questions about Bonfire night, do you have any traditions. Thoughts on fire works etc.

Just a general Bonfire Night thread.

8 comments

  1. bilbodwyer
    Link
    I've been out to one of the council run bonfires for the past few years on bonfire night itself, and it's always... Meh. They have a local radio station turn up and do raffles and play music and...

    I've been out to one of the council run bonfires for the past few years on bonfire night itself, and it's always... Meh. They have a local radio station turn up and do raffles and play music and whatnot, get everyone to countdown to the fireworks and stuff. It's cheesy as hell, but kind of fun. The fireworks display always feels a little lacklustre though. They used to have a great sound system in and they'd play film scores along to the display (as well as the obvious 1812 overture finale), but they switched it up for pop music in recent years which I don't really enjoy as much.
    Much more enjoyable (as you say) are my family's gatherings around bonfire night - we'll rock up to either my parents' house, or one of my siblings', and let off a few fireworks, make a little fire in the garden, and drink hot chocolates.

    I've not done anything Bonfire Night related this year though - I've not really been in the mood, and didn't fancy standing out in the cold and the rain at a crowded fire. Been wrapped up at home all evening, just relaxing and watching all the fireworks from my window. There's loads being set off around and about (some rather closer for comfort), so I've got a good view!

    5 votes
  2. Zarasophos
    Link
    I watched V for Vendetta, perfectly timed for Big Ben to hit the mark on midnight. Great fun, have done before, will do again!

    I watched V for Vendetta, perfectly timed for Big Ben to hit the mark on midnight. Great fun, have done before, will do again!

    5 votes
  3. xstresedg
    Link
    I'm a Canadian so we don't celebrate. However, I hope everyone enjoys the events and stays safe out there!

    I'm a Canadian so we don't celebrate. However, I hope everyone enjoys the events and stays safe out there!

    4 votes
  4. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    As it happens, this essay in The Atlantic discusses the confusion that's arisen over the historical figure of Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was a religious extremist terrorist by any standard, ancient or...

    As it happens, this essay in The Atlantic discusses the confusion that's arisen over the historical figure of Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was a religious extremist terrorist by any standard, ancient or modern, particularly as an explosives enthusiast unconcerned about collateral damage.

    The original celebration was over Fawkes' lack of success, and the continued survival of the Protestant monarch, James I. As mentioned in the OP, it still prominently features the burning of Fawkes' effigy on the celebratory bonfires.

    I don't seriously think that Alan Moore (V for Vendetta) intended to reinvent Guy Fawkes as the patron saint of revolution, but his own more recent commentary raises some questions. Yet the mask iconography and the Internet's ability to endlessly permute and mutate a memetic have flipped the history on its head. Now everyone from Anonymous to Hong Kong democracy protestors have adopted the image.

    3 votes
  5. [4]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I know this isn't intended as a political debate thread ... but seriously ... Guy Fawkes celebrations organized and run by the govt?!!? WTF? That's like the Americans asking Britain to do the 4th...

    I know this isn't intended as a political debate thread ... but seriously ... Guy Fawkes celebrations organized and run by the govt?!!? WTF? That's like the Americans asking Britain to do the 4th of July for 'em.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      It's more a celebration that the gunpowder plot failed. Time, and V for Vendetta eroded that into what it is today.

      It's more a celebration that the gunpowder plot failed. Time, and V for Vendetta eroded that into what it is today.

      6 votes
      1. Eric_the_Cerise
        Link Parent
        Wow. That literally hadn't occurred to me. Thank you, 'V'.

        Wow. That literally hadn't occurred to me. Thank you, 'V'.

        2 votes
      2. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        As an American, V is the reason I'm aware of Guy Fawkes day at all. I understand the history of it, but personally I've turned it into an annual viewing of the movie as a reminder of what happens...

        As an American, V is the reason I'm aware of Guy Fawkes day at all. I understand the history of it, but personally I've turned it into an annual viewing of the movie as a reminder of what happens when a society trades freedom for safety.

        2 votes