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Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night
Festivities in Windsor Castle during Guy Fawkes night. Aquatint with etching, Paul Standby, September 1776
Also called Bonfire Night
Cracker Night
Fireworks Night
Bommy Night
Bonty Night (only in Staly Bridge)
Observed by United Kingdom and some of its former colonies
Type Cultural, Remembrance
Significance Foiling of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I, in London(England) in 1605
Date Evening of the 5th of November
Observances Bonfires, fireworks, etc.

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is an annual celebration held on the evening of 5 November to mark the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament, in London. The occasion is primarily celebrated in the United Kingdom where, by an Act of Parliament called The Thanksgiving Act, it was compulsory until 1859, to celebrate the deliverance of the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. It is also celebrated in some former British colonies including New Zealand,[1] Newfoundland, South Africa, parts of the Caribbean and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda.[2] Bonfire Night was celebrated in Australia until the mid-to-late 1970s, when sale and public use of fireworks was made illegal and the celebration was effectively abolished. Festivities are centred on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.

Contents

United Kingdom customs

Children display their guy on the street to raise funds for fireworks

In the United Kingdom, celebrations take place in towns and villages across the country in the form of both private and civic events. The festivities involve fireworks displays and the building of bonfires on which "guys" are traditionally burnt, although this practice is not always observed in modern times. The "guys" are traditionally effigies of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. Although the night is celebrated in York (Fawkes' hometown) some there do not burn his effigy, most notably those from his old school.[3][4] In the weeks before bonfire night, children traditionally displayed the "guy" and requested a "penny for the guy" in order to raise funds with which to buy fireworks. However, this practice has diminished greatly, perhaps because it has been seen as begging, and also because children are not allowed to buy fireworks. In addition there are concerns that children might misuse the money.[5]

In the United Kingdom, there are several foods that are traditionally consumed on Guy Fawkes Night:

In West Yorkshire the practice of collecting wood and other combustible materials to make community bonfires is known as "chumping".[14]

A Guy Fawkes Night firework display

In Sussex, Bonfire night is a major festival that centres on Lewes necessitating the closure of the town centre. The night also commemorates the Glorious Revolution and 17 local Protestant martyrs that were burnt at the stake during Marian Persecutions by the Catholic Queen Mary I.[15] The night begins with torchlight processions in costume by a number of local bonfire societies and culminates in six separate bonfires where effigies of Guy Fawkes, Pope Paul V and topical personalities are destroyed by firework and flame. The burning of an effigy of Pope Paul V is carried out by the Cliffe Bonfire Society alone and they are barred from marching with the main procession.

In Ottery St Mary, in Devon, burning barrels of tar are carried through the streets:

Ottery St. Mary is internationally renowned for its tar barrels, an old custom said to have originated in the 17th century, and which is held on November 5th each year. Each of Ottery's central public houses sponsors a single barrel. In the weeks prior to the day of the event, November 5th, the barrels are soaked with tar. The barrels are lit outside each of the pubs in turn and once the flames begin to pour out, they are hoisted up onto local people's backs and shoulders. The streets and alleys around the pubs are packed with people, all eager to feel the lick of the barrels flame. Seventeen Barrels all in all are lit over the course of the evening. In the afternoon and early evening there are women's and boy's barrels, but as the evening progresses the barrels get larger and by midnight they weigh at least 30 kilos. A great sense of camaraderie exists between the 'Barrel Rollers', despite the fact that they tussle constantly for supremacy of the barrel. In most cases, generations of the same family carry the barrels and take great pride in doing so. ... Opinion differs as to the origin of this festival of fire, but the most widely accepted version is that it began as a pagan ritual that cleanses the streets of evil spirits.[16]

Guy Fawkes Night is less commonly celebrated in Northern Ireland, where autumn fireworks and bonfires are more commonly associated with Halloween.

Global customs

North America

Bermuda

In the aftermath of the Boer War, Anna Maria Outerbridge – a leader of a "Boer Relief Committee" well known for trying to assist Boer POWs in escaping – was so unpopular with the British that on Guy Fawkes Night an effigy of her was burned, rather than of Guy Fawkes.[17]

Canada

In Canada, Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night is largely unheard of in most provinces, although it is still celebrated in a few places. The tradition was planted along with other cultural practices of British colonists in the 19th century. However practices have been modified over two centuries since arriving from the United Kingdom as the following reveals:

The night is also still celebrated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The custom was brought over by British coal miners that came to Nanaimo in the mid 1800s. They built very tall bonfires – often 40 feet (12 metres) or taller, sometimes from "spare" railroad ties that they'd come across. Over the years in Nanaimo, by the 1960s the effigy of Guy Fawkes had disappeared, and so had the name – it's just called "Bonfire Night" by the local children. Now (2006), the tradition has largely been lost altogether, and the few remaining celebrations that are held are mostly in private backyards.[18]

Guy Fawkes bonfires are still burnt in many parts of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The celebrations are widespread enough to merit recent mention by the provincial Minister of Environment and Conservation. Tom Osborne, Minister of Environment and Conservation, today asked the general public to keep safety and the environment in mind when holding bonfires this weekend to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.

Holding bonfires on Guy Fawkes night is still a tradition in many areas of our province and we are asking those participating in a bonfire this year to ensure they clean up their area, especially our beaches, when the festivities are over ... We should always be mindful of the importance of our environment and do our part to keep it clean at all times, including events like Guy Fawkes night.[19]

Caribbean

In the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the night is celebrated in the town of Barrouallie, on the leeward side of the main island of Saint Vincent. The town's field comes ablaze as people come to see all of the traditional pyrotechnics.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Guy Fawkes Night was popular until the 1990s, when a ban on fireworks made it almost non-existent.

In the Bahamas, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in the Fox Hill area of New Providence, the main island. Other islands have smaller celebrations for their residents.

Colonial America

This day was celebrated in the Colonies and was called "Pope's Day". It was the high point of "anti-popery" (in the term of the times) in New England. In the 1730s or earlier Boston's artisans commemorated the day with a parade and performances which mocked Catholicism and the Catholic Stuart pretender. It was also the day when the youth and the lower class ruled. They went door to door collecting money from the affluent to finance feasting and drinking.[20] George Washington forbade the celebration of the day among his troops due to its anti-Catholic and pro-British purpose.[21]

Southern hemisphere

Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night (and the weekend closest to it) is the main night for both amateur and official fireworks displays in the UK and New Zealand.

In Australia, Guy Fawkes Night has not been celebrated since the late 1970s, when sale and public use of fireworks was banned in most states and territories to prevent their misuse and personal injuries, and especially because of the danger of bushfires during hot Novembers. Prior to this ban, Guy Fawkes Night in Australia was widely celebrated with many private, backyard fireworks lightings and larger communal bonfires and fireworks displays in public spaces. Some recent immigrants to Australia from Britain preserve the British tradition and arrange private parties with bonfires and sparklers.

A pyrotechnic fountain

In New Zealand, the sale of fireworks has been increasingly reduced. This is predominantly due to misuse by young people. Firecrackers have been banned since 1991, and rockets (or any firework where the firework itself flies) have been banned since 1994.[22] In 2007, the sale period for fireworks was reduced to the four days leading to Guy Fawkes Night, and the legal age to buy fireworks was raised from 14 to 18.[23] Despite those sales restrictions, there is actually no restriction on when one may light fireworks, only a restriction on when they may be sold.[24] There are some local bans on setting off fireworks, usually covering only the days around Guy Fawkes Night.[25] Ex Prime Minister Helen Clark considered banning the sale of personal fireworks in New Zealand,[26] although 2007 was one of the "quietest on record" according to the NZ fire service.[27] However the major New Zealand cities now hold their own popular public firework displays on Guy Fawkes night.

South Africa

Guy Fawkes is widely celebrated in South Africa. However, the day has largely lost its meaning, and is seen more often as a reason to light fireworks. Bonfires with Fawkes effigies are not uncommon, although they are certainly not essential to Guy Fawkes celebrations in South Africa. Many schools and community centres stage fireworks displays that are used to raise money. Until government restrictions on the purchase of fireworks were introduced in the 1990s (primarily motivated by animal rights concerns), it was common for middle-class neighbourhoods to host quite elaborate informal fireworks displays. These have diminished of late, due to the necessity of obtaining a permit hold such events. Small, quiet fireworks (such as a "fountains" and "sparklers") are often lit at private home parties.

The government has allocated sections of public beaches to be used as sites for the firing of fireworks. These sites are usually plagued by pollution due to Guy Fawkes celebrations.

Guy Fawkes day was celebrated to some extent by South Africans of English descent, but the practice began dwindling by the 1960s. Personal fireworks were banned by the Apartheid-era government, which feared that fireworks could be converted into improvised explosive devices during periods of civil unrest. This development may have contributed to the decline of celebrations. However, South Africa's expulsion from the Commonwealth and distancing from Britain in the 1960s is another likely factor.

Traditional rhymes

Several traditional rhymes have accompanied the festivities. Sometimes "God Save the king" can be replaced by "God save the Queen" depending on who is on the throne.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

these words are used in by Battle Bonfire Boyes who carry on the tradition of bonfire at their annual event in Sussex. They have the honour of the longest continuous Guy Fawkes bonfire celebrations in the world. The above traditional 'bonfire cry' is used at the society meeting immediately preceding the annual event, and prior to the lighting of the bonfire, and on other significant occasions.

In more common use the above "bonfire cry" is occasionally altered with the last three lines (after "burning match") being supplanted by the following;

A traitor to the Crown by his action,
No Parli'ment mercy from any faction,
His just end should'st be grim,
What should we do? Burn him!
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring,
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King!

Since the town of Lewes does not just focus on Guy Fawkes they add an extra verse to do with the Pope, reflecting the struggle between Protestants and Roman Catholics. This practice is unique to the Lewes Bonfire celebrations.

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A fagot 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 hoorah!

A variant on the foregoing:

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot!
A stick or a stake for King James' sake
Will you please to give us a fagot
If you can't give us one, we'll take two;
The better for us and the worse for you!

Another piece of popular doggerel:

Guy, guy, guy
Poke him in the eye,
Put him on the bonfire,
And there let him die[18].

Or, today used frequently, instead of "Put him on the bonfire", "Hang him on a lamppost".

...and another variant, sung by children in Lancashire whilst begging "A Penny For The Guy":

Remember, remember the fifth of November
It's Gunpowder Plot, we never forgot
Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your purse
A ha'penny or a penny will do you no harm
Who's that knocking at the window?
Who's that knocking at the door?
It's little Mary Ann with a candle in her hand
And she's going down the cellar for some coal

This is a South Lancashire song sung when knocking at doors asking for money to buy fireworks, or combustibles for a bonfire (known as "Cob-coaling"), there are many variations, this is a shorter one:

We come a Cob-coaling for Bonfire time,
Your coal and your money we hope to enjoy.
Fal-a-dee, fal-a-die, fal-a-diddly-i-do-day.
If you don't have a penny a ha'penny will do.
If you don't have a ha'penny, then God bless you.

The custom seems to have died out in the 1980s–1990s with the rise of the American import of "Trick-or-treating."

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Kerre Woodham Guy Fawkes Night: Gone with a bang, The New Zealand Herald, 11 November 2007
  2. ^ Acton, Nancy (November 4, 2008), Why observe Guy Fawkes traditions?, The Royal Gazette, http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d8b23b30030013&sectionId=80  
  3. ^ St Peter's School, York, Old Peterites, http://www.st-peters.york.sch.uk/opclub/framesOP.htm  
  4. ^ H2G2 Entry on York, England, BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A577055  
  5. ^ A Penny for the Guy, http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/bonfire-night/features/a-penny-for-the-guy-in-progress  
  6. ^ Keating, Sheila (October 20, 2007), Where to get the best treacle toffee, London: Times Online, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article2662748.ece  
  7. ^ Lepard, Dan (November 3, 2007), How to bake 100-year-old parkin, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2203374,00.html  
  8. ^ McEvedy, Allegra (October 31, 2007), The G2 weekly recipe: toffee apples and pears, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/story/0,,2202178,00.html  
  9. ^ "Tasty toffee apples". BBC – Hereford & Worcester]]. http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/features/2003/11/firework_toffee.shtml. Retrieved 11 November 2007.  
  10. ^ Tantalising recipes for your bonfire feast, BBC, 26 March 2004, http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/features/bonfire_feast.shtml  
  11. ^ The top 10 Guy Fawkes links, Telegraph, 3/11/2007, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2007/11/03/dlweb03.xml&page=2  
  12. ^ Beckett, Fiona (June 3, 2000), Bean feast, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,327387,00.html  
  13. ^ Bolton Revisited : Remember Remember the Fifth of November Retrieved 5 November 2009
  14. ^ Hinchcliffe, Peter (27 October 2006). "About a week:Chumping". Open writing. Huddersfield. http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2006/10/chumping.php. Retrieved 13 December 2009.  
  15. ^ Lewes Bonfire Night: An Explosive Event, http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/bonfire-night/features/november-5th-in-lewes  
  16. ^ Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels
  17. ^ Benbow, Colin (1994). Boer Prisoners of War in Bermuda. Bermuda: Island Press Limited. p. 28. ISBN 0-9697893-0-0.  
  18. ^ a b http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/encyclopaedia!openframeset&frame=Right&Src=/edible.nsf/pages/guyfawkes!opendocument/  
  19. ^ Public asked to keep environment in mind on Guy Fawkes night, http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2005/env/1104n02.htm  
  20. ^ Nash, pg. 165
  21. ^ George Washington, November 5, 1775, General Orders The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor
  22. ^ New Zealand is ready for a fireworks retail ban, 17 October 2006, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0610/S00194.htm  
  23. ^ Sales rocketing despite tougher rules, November 2, 2007, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/423466/1425814  
  24. ^ Not illegal to let off fireworks, TV NZ, November 8, 2005, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/625359  
  25. ^ Auckland City fireworks bans.
  26. ^ Thompson, Wayne (November 5, 2007), Fireworks sales facing total ban as PM talks tough, The New Zealand Herald, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10474049  
  27. ^ Guy Fawkes quietest in decades, One News, November 6, 2007, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1431296  

References

  • Nash, Gary, The Urban Crucible, The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution, 1986, ISBN 0674930584


Guy Fawkes Night
File:Windsor castle
Festivities in Windsor Castle during Guy Fawkes Night. Aquatint with etching, Paul Standby, September 1776
Also called Bonfire Night
Cracker Night
Fireworks Night
Bommy Night
Bonty Night (Stalybridge only)
Observed by United Kingdom and some of its former colonies
Type Cultural, Remembrance
Significance Foiling of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I, in London, England, in 1605
Date Evening of the 5th of November
Observances Bonfires, fireworks, etc.

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night (or, more casually in recent times as Fireworks Night), is an annual celebration held on the evening of 5 November to mark the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the Houses of Parliament in London. The occasion is primarily celebrated in Great Britain where, by an Act of Parliament called The Thanksgiving Act, it was compulsory until 1859, to celebrate the deliverance of the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. It is also celebrated in some former British colonies including New Zealand,[1] Newfoundland, South Africa, parts of the Caribbean and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda.[2] Bonfire Night was celebrated in Australia until the mid-to-late 1970s, when sale and public use of fireworks was made illegal and the celebration was effectively abolished. Festivities are centred on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.

Contents

The Gunpowder Plot and origin of Guy Fawkes Night

File:Gunpowder Plot
Eight of the thirteen plotters (missing are Digby, Keyes, Rookwood, Grant, and Tresham)

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, organised by Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, Robert Wintour, Guy Fawkes, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Percy, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham, Thomas Bates, was plot to assassinate James I of England and restore Catholicism to England.

The 13 conspirators planned to place a hoard of gunpowder in an undercroft directly underneath the House of Lords. The plotters believed it to be the perfect place to hide explosives, as the undercroft had gone unused for some time.[3] As October came and the plot was finalised, concerns arose that there may be Catholics present in Parliament when the device was to explode.[4] On Saturday 26 October William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, Francis Tresham's brother-in-law, received an anonymous letter warning him not to attend Parliament. On Friday 1 November the King was shown the letter, and it was later decided that a search of the Houses of Parliament would be undertaken on Monday.

File:Fawkes
Knyvet capturing Fawkes in the undercroft shortly after midnight
According to the King's account, searchers discovered a servant nearby a large pile of firewood in the undercroft on Monday 4 November. He informed the searchers that the firewood belonged to his master, Thomas Percy. The servant's true identity was Guy Fawkes. As the searches had so far failed to locate anything untoward the King demanded that a more thorough search must commence. Shortly after midnight a search party under the command of Thomas Knyvet discovered Fawkes in the undercroft. Fawkes, who identified himself as John Johnson, was placed under arrest, and his possessions searched. He was discovered to be carrying a pocket watch, matches, and torchwood.[5] The search team then unearthed barrels of gunpowder hidden beneath the pile of firewood.[6]

Fawkes, still using the alias John Johnson, claimed when interrogated that he had acted alone. "Johnson" was relocated to the Tower of London on 6 November, where he was to be tortured, after the King gave his consent for the torture to take place.[7] On 7 November Fawkes confessed that he had not acted alone,[8] and the full extent of the plot was unearthed. The plotters were all executed, aside from Catesby and Percy, who had already been killed amidst their refusal to surrender, however the bodies were exhumed and their heads placed on spikes outside the Houses of Lords.[9]

In January 1606 the Thanksgiving Act was passed, and commemorating the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot became an annual event.[10] Coincidentally the celebrations for the pagan festival of Samhain, which included the burning of the "old guy" on a bonfire, were held about this time of the year, and so other traditions, such as ringing of church bells and lighting fireworks were added soon after the act was passed and the "guy" became a personification of Guy Fawkes.[10][11] The act remained in place until 1859.[12] Despite the repeal of the act taking place over 150 years ago, Guy Fawkes Night still remains a yearly custom throughout Britain.

United Kingdom customs

[[File:|thumb|right|Children display their guy on the street to raise funds for fireworks]] In the United Kingdom, celebrations take place in towns and villages across the country in the form of both private and civic events. The festivities involve fireworks displays and the building of bonfires on which "guys" are traditionally burnt. The "guys" are traditionally effigies of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, although may also be effigies of local or national hate figures. Although the night is celebrated in York (Fawkes' hometown) some there do not burn his effigy, most notably those from his old school.[13][14] In the weeks before bonfire night, children traditionally displayed the "guy" and requested a "penny for the guy" in order to raise funds with which to buy fireworks. However, this practice has diminished greatly, perhaps because it has been seen as begging, and also because children are not allowed to buy fireworks. In addition there are concerns that children might misuse the money.[15]

In the United Kingdom, there are several foods that are traditionally consumed on Guy Fawkes Night:

In West Yorkshire the practice of collecting wood and other combustible materials to make community bonfires is known as "chumping".[24]


In Sussex, Bonfire night is a major festival that centres on Lewes necessitating the closure of the town centre. The night also commemorates the Glorious Revolution and 17 local Protestant martyrs that were burnt at the stake during Marian Persecutions by the Catholic Queen Mary I.[25] The night begins with torchlight processions in costume by a number of local bonfire societies and culminates in six separate bonfires where effigies of Guy Fawkes, Pope Paul V and topical personalities are destroyed by firework and flame. The burning of an effigy of Pope Paul V is carried out by the Cliffe and Commercial Square bonfire societies.

In Ottery St Mary, in Devon, burning barrels of tar are carried through the streets:

Ottery St. Mary is internationally renowned for its tar barrels, an old custom said to have originated in the 17th century, and which is held on 5 November each year. Each of Ottery's central public houses sponsors a single barrel. In the weeks prior to the day of the event, 5 November, the barrels are soaked with tar. The barrels are lit outside each of the pubs in turn and once the flames begin to pour out, they are hoisted up onto local people's backs and shoulders. The streets and alleys around the pubs are packed with people, all eager to feel the lick of the barrels flame. Seventeen Barrels all in all are lit over the course of the evening. In the afternoon and early evening there are women's and boy's barrels, but as the evening progresses the barrels get larger and by midnight they weigh at least 30 kilos. A great sense of camaraderie exists between the 'Barrel Rollers', despite the fact that they tussle constantly for supremacy of the barrel. In most cases, generations of the same family carry the barrels and take great pride in doing so. ... Opinion differs as to the origin of this festival of fire, but the most widely accepted version is that it began as a pagan ritual that cleanses the streets of evil spirits.[26]

Guy Fawkes Night is not celebrated in Northern Ireland, where fireworks and bonfires are more commonly associated with The Twelfth, which celebrates the victory of Protestant king William of Orange over Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

Global customs

North America

Bermuda

In the aftermath of the Boer War, Anna Maria Outerbridge – a leader of a "Boer Relief Committee" well known for trying to assist Boer POWs in escaping – was so unpopular with the British that on Guy Fawkes Night an effigy of her was burned, rather than of Guy Fawkes.[27]

Canada

Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night is largely unheard of in most provinces, although it is still celebrated in a few places. The tradition was planted along with other cultural practices of British colonists in the 19th century. However practices have been modified over two centuries since arriving from the United Kingdom as the following reveals:

The night is also still celebrated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The custom was brought over by British coal miners that came to Nanaimo in the mid 1800s. They built very tall bonfires – often 40 feet (12 metres) or taller, sometimes from "spare" railroad ties that they'd come across. Over the years in Nanaimo, by the 1960s the effigy of Guy Fawkes had disappeared, and so had the name – it's just called "Bonfire Night" by the local children. Now (2006), the tradition has largely been lost altogether, and the few remaining celebrations that are held are mostly in private backyards.[28]

Guy Fawkes bonfires are still burnt in many parts of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2005 the celebrations were widespread enough to merit mention by the provincial Minister of Environment and Conservation. Tom Osborne, Minister of Environment and Conservation, today asked the general public to keep safety and the environment in mind when holding bonfires this weekend to celebrate Guy Fawkes night.

Holding bonfires on Guy Fawkes night is still a tradition in many areas of our province and we are asking those participating in a bonfire this year to ensure they clean up their area, especially our beaches, when the festivities are over ... We should always be mindful of the importance of our environment and do our part to keep it clean at all times, including events like Guy Fawkes night.[29]

Every year, in the quadrangle of Trinity College at the University of Toronto an effigy of Guy Fawkes is hung by a noose. The students of the college will often don their academic gowns as they observe the effigy burn.

Caribbean

In the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the night is celebrated in the town of Barrouallie, on the leeward side of the main island of Saint Vincent. The town's field comes ablaze as people come to see all of the traditional pyrotechnics.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Guy Fawkes Night was popular until the 1990s, when a ban on fireworks made it almost non-existent.

In the Bahamas, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in the Fox Hill area of New Providence, the main island. Other islands have smaller celebrations for their residents.

On the twin island nation of St.Kitts and Nevis, the night is still celebrated throughout the country.

Colonial America

This day was celebrated in the Colonies and was called "Pope's Day". It was the high point of "anti-popery" (in the term of the times) in New England. In the 1730s or earlier, Boston's artisans commemorated the day with a parade and performances which mocked Catholicism and the Catholic Stuart pretender. It was also the day when the youth and the lower class ruled. They went door to door collecting money from the affluent to finance feasting and drinking.[30] George Washington forbade the celebration of the day among his troops due to its anti-Catholic and pro-British purpose.[31]

Southern hemisphere

Australia

In Australia, Guy Fawkes Night has not been celebrated since the late 1970s, when sale and public use of fireworks was banned in most states and territories to prevent their misuse and personal injuries. Prior to this ban, Guy Fawkes Night in Australia was celebrated in private, backyard fireworks lightings and occasionally with larger communal bonfires or fireworks displays in public spaces. Some recent immigrants to Australia from Britain preserve the British tradition and arrange private parties with bonfires and sparklers.

New Zealand

Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night (and the weekend closest to it) is the main night for both amateur and official fireworks displays in New Zealand, with most major New Zealand cities and many smaller areas holding their own popular public firework displays on Guy Fawkes night.

In New Zealand, the sale of fireworks has been increasingly reduced. This is predominantly due to misuse by young people. Firecrackers have been banned since 1991, and rockets (or any firework where the firework itself flies) have been banned since 1994.[32] In 2007, the sale period for fireworks was reduced to the four days leading to Guy Fawkes Night, and the legal age to buy fireworks was raised from 14 to 18.[33] Despite those sales restrictions, there is actually no restriction on when one may light fireworks, only a restriction on when they may be sold.[34] There are some local bans on setting off fireworks, usually covering only the days around Guy Fawkes Night.[35] Ex Prime Minister Helen Clark considered banning the sale of personal fireworks in New Zealand,[36] although 2007 was one of the "quietest on record" according to the NZ fire service.[37]

South Africa

Guy Fawkes is widely celebrated in South Africa. The day has largely lost its original meaning, however, and is seen more often as merely a reason to light fireworks. Bonfires with Fawkes' effigies are not uncommon, although they are certainly not essential to the celebrations. Many schools and community centres stage fireworks displays in order to raise money. Until government restrictions on the purchase of fireworks were introduced in the 1990s (primarily motivated by animal welfare concerns), it was common for middle-class neighbourhoods to host quite elaborate informal fireworks displays. These have diminished of late, due to the necessity of obtaining a permit to hold such events. Small, quiet fireworks (such as a "fountains" and "sparklers") are often lit at private home parties.

The government has allocated sections of public beaches to be used as sites for the lighting of fireworks. These sites are usually plagued by pollution due to Guy Fawkes celebrations.

Guy Fawkes day was celebrated to some extent by South Africans of British descent, but the practice began to dwindle by the 1960s. Personal fireworks were banned by the Apartheid-era government, which feared that they could be converted into improvised explosive devices during periods of civil unrest. This development may have contributed to the decline of celebrations; South Africa's expulsion from the Commonwealth and distancing from Britain in the 1960s is another likely factor.

Traditional rhymes

Several traditional rhymes have accompanied the festivities. Sometimes "God Save the king" can be replaced by "God save the Queen" depending on who is on the throne.
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

these words are used in by Battle Bonfire Boyes who carry on the tradition of bonfire at their annual event in Sussex who lay claim to the longest continuous Guy Fawkes bonfire celebrations in the world.[citation needed] The above traditional 'bonfire cry' is used at the society meeting immediately preceding the annual event, prior to the lighting of the bonfire, and on other significant occasions.

In more common use the "bonfire cry" is occasionally altered with the last three lines (after "burning match") being supplanted by the following;

A traitor to the Crown by his action,
No Parli'ment mercy from any faction,
His just end should'st be grim,
What should we do? Burn him!
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring,
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King!

Since the town of Lewes does not just focus on Guy Fawkes they add an extra verse to do with the Pope, reflecting the struggle between Protestants and Roman Catholics. This practice is unique to the Lewes Bonfire celebrations.[citation needed]

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A fagot 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 hoorah!

A variant on the foregoing:

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot!
A stick or a stake for King James' sake
Will you please to give us a fagot
If you can't give us one, we'll take two;
The better for us and the worse for you!

Another piece of popular doggerel:

Guy, guy, guy
Poke him in the eye,
Put him on the bonfire,
And there let him die[28].

Or, today used frequently, instead of "Put him on the bonfire", "Hang him on a lamppost".

...and another variant, sung by children in Lancashire whilst begging "A Penny For The Guy":

Remember, remember the fifth of November
It's Gunpowder Plot, we never forgot
Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your purse
A ha'penny or a penny will do you no harm
Who's that knocking at the window?
Who's that knocking at the door?
It's little Mary Ann with a candle in her hand
And she's going down the cellar for some coal

The following is a South Lancashire song sung when knocking on doors asking for money to buy fireworks, or combustibles for a bonfire (known as "Cob-coaling"), there are many variations, this is a shorter one:

We come a Cob-coaling for Bonfire time,
Your coal and your money we hope to enjoy.
Fal-a-dee, fal-a-die, fal-a-diddly-i-do-day.
If you don't have a penny a ha'penny will do.
If you don't have a ha'penny, then God bless you.

The custom seems to have died out in the 1980s–1990s to be overtaken by the rise of the American import of Trick-or-treating.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Kerre Woodham Guy Fawkes Night: Gone with a bang, The New Zealand Herald, 11 November 2007
  2. ^ Acton, Nancy (4 November 2008), Why observe Guy Fawkes traditions?, The Royal Gazette, http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d8b23b30030013&sectionId=80 
  3. ^ Fraser 2005, pp. 144–145
  4. ^ Northcote Parkinson 1976, pp. 62–63
  5. ^ Fraser 2005, pp. 201–203
  6. ^ Northcote Parkinson 1976, p. 73
  7. ^ Fraser 2005, pp. 211–212
  8. ^ Fraser 2005, pp. 216–217
  9. ^ Fraser 2005, pp. 235–236
  10. ^ a b Aftermath: Commemoration, gunpowderplot.parliament.uk, 2005–2006, http://www.gunpowderplot.parliament.uk/adults_plot_ac.htm, retrieved 21 January 2010 [dead link]
  11. ^ [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Llewellyn's Sabbats Almanac: Samhain 2009 to Mabon 2010], Saint Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2009, pp. 28, ISBN 0-7387-1496-8 
  12. ^ House of Commons Information Office (September 2006) (PDF), The Gunpowder Plot, parliament.uk, http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g08.pdf, retrieved 21 January 2010 
  13. ^ St Peter's School, York, Old Peterites, http://www.st-peters.york.sch.uk/opclub/framesOP.htm 
  14. ^ H2G2 Entry on York, England, BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A577055 
  15. ^ A Penny for the Guy, http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/bonfire-night/features/a-penny-for-the-guy-in-progress 
  16. ^ Keating, Sheila (20 October 2007), Where to get the best treacle toffee, London: Times Online, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article2662748.ece 
  17. ^ Lepard, Dan (3 November 2007), How to bake 100-year-old parkin, London: The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,2203374,00.html 
  18. ^ McEvedy, Allegra (31 October 2007), The G2 weekly recipe: toffee apples and pears, London: The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/story/0,,2202178,00.html 
  19. ^ "Tasty toffee apples". BBCHereford & Worcester. http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/features/2003/11/firework_toffee.shtml. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  20. ^ Tantalising recipes for your bonfire feast, BBC, 26 March 2004, http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/features/bonfire_feast.shtml 
  21. ^ Noonan, Damien (3 November 2007), The top 10 Guy Fawkes links, London: Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2007/11/03/dlweb03.xml&page=2, retrieved 4 May 2010 
  22. ^ Beckett, Fiona (3 June 2000), Bean feast, London: The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,327387,00.html 
  23. ^ Bolton Revisited : Remember Remember the Fifth of November Retrieved 5 November 2009
  24. ^ Hinchcliffe, Peter (27 October 2006). "About a week:Chumping". Open writing. Huddersfield. http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2006/10/chumping.php. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  25. ^ Lewes Bonfire Night: An Explosive Event, http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/bonfire-night/features/november-5th-in-lewes 
  26. ^ Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels
  27. ^ Benbow, Colin (1994), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Boer Prisoners of War in Bermuda], Bermuda: Island Press Limited, p. 28, ISBN 0-9697893-0-0 
  28. ^ a b [Expression error: Unexpected < operator http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/encyclopaedia!openframeset&frame=Right&Src=/edible.nsf/pages/guyfawkes!opendocument/] 
  29. ^ Public asked to keep environment in mind on Guy Fawkes night, http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2005/env/1104n02.htm 
  30. ^ Nash, pg. 165
  31. ^ George Washington, 5 November 1775, General Orders The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor
  32. ^ New Zealand is ready for a fireworks retail ban, 17 October 2006, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0610/S00194.htm 
  33. ^ Sales rocketing despite tougher rules, Television New Zealand, 2 November 2007, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/423466/1425814 
  34. ^ Not illegal to let off fireworks, TV NZ, 8 November 2005, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/625359 
  35. ^ Auckland City fireworks bans.
  36. ^ Thompson, Wayne (5 November 2007), Fireworks sales facing total ban as PM talks tough, The New Zealand Herald, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10474049 
  37. ^ Guy Fawkes quietest in decades, One News, 6 November 2007, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1431296 

References

  • Fraser, Antonia (2005) [1996], [Expression error: Unexpected < operator The Gunpowder Plot], London: Phoenix, ISBN 0753814013 
  • Northcote Parkinson, C. (1976), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Gunpowder Treason and Plot], London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, ISBN 0297772244 
  • Nash, Gary, [Expression error: Unexpected < operator The Urban Crucible, The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution], ISBN 0674930584 


Simple English

Guy Fawkes Night is a festival in Britain, on 5 November. It is also a festival in New Zealand, Canada and other British territories.

Guy Fawkes Night remembers the Gunpowder Plot. This was when a group of people wanted to use explosives to destroy the British Houses of Parliament in 1605. The people who created the Gunpowder Plot wanted a Catholic king for Britain. On 5 November, at night, the British king, James I, was inside the Houses of Parliament. King James was a member of the Protestant church, and the Gunpowder Plot group were Catholic. If the plan worked, then the new Parliament may have been destroyed.

The plan did not work, and soldiers captured the Catholic rebels. One of the rebels was Guy Fawkes.

Today, people create open air fires (bonfires), in towns across England. They remember the explosives by exploding fireworks in public places. People put cotton dummies (or "guys") on the bonfires. The guys represent Guy Fawkes. These guys are burnt at the top of the fire.

Traditionally children make the "guy" some days before 5 November, then carry it in the streets, asking for money - the traditional expression is "penny for the guy!"

In British schools, children draw fireworks, and learn the traditional rhyme for November 5:

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."



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