Before I get on to the subject of Bonfire Night, I just have to quickly say that I went to see the show home at the development where my new house is yesterday. And OH. MY. GOD. If I wasn’t already chuffed with the new house before, then I certainly am now!
There’s always a risk with buying off-plan, but like I’ve said in a previous post I had a really good feeling about this place which is why I reserved it before seeing it. And my instincts were totally right on this occasion. I cannot wait to move in! I even went new home shopping yesterday afternoon to buy lots of lovely new things for my lovely new house I’m THAT excited. And I don’t even move in until at least April, probably May.
I’m also starting to understand how hard moving house actually is, especially when it’s just you. I obviously knew it was going to be hard and I have moved house before, but there’s just so much to do and think about and it takes over a lot of your life. More about that in another post on another day.
So back to bonfire night. This is my favourite night of the year by far (Christmas Eve is my second favourite!) and I always look forward to it. But what is Bonfire Night? And why do we celebrate it in the UK?
We all know the story of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plotters don’t we? At least those of us in the UK do! Basically on the 5th November we celebrate the fact that on this date in 1605, the gunpowder plotters failed to blow up Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Poor Guy Fawkes was the one caught with said gunpowder barrels, was arrested, tortured for information about his fellow plotters, tried for treason, and executed by being hung drawn and quartered. Lovely.
And yet here we are, 412 years on, still celebrating the 5th November. There probably aren’t many festivals/celebrations that still happen in this world that have been celebrated for over 400 years that aren’t religious in some way are there? And that got me thinking. Why do we still celebrate it?
I decided to do some research – and when I say research I mean, have a quick read on Wikipedia – and discovered that actually bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes night, or whatever you want to call it, was sort of a religious thing for several years after the failed plot. The reigning Monarch at the time, King James I, was a Protestant Monarch and the gunpowder plotters were all Catholic. They were trying to overthrow the Protestant Monarchy to replace it with a Catholic Monarchy. So for a while after 1605, November 5th was really only commemorated by Protestants in celebration of the failure of the plot.
Of course over time, 5th November celebrations have changed meaning and nowadays there is no religious meaning to it at all. It’s really just a time for families and communities to enjoy fireworks and bonfires displays together.
The reason I love Bonfire Night so much is because of the memories I have of it from my childhood. Firstly, we always used to cover it at school – every year without fail. We remembered the story behind it, but more importantly we always used to be taught how to handle fireworks and sparklers correctly and what the consequences were of getting it wrong or being foolish around them. Very responsible.
But the thing I remember the most were the displays that we used to go to. Every year the school across the road from my house (which was a Catholic school funnily enough!) held an organised firework display with a big bonfire and food and drink. They used to serve jacket potatoes wrapped up in foil and you could drink tea or soft drinks while watching the fireworks. And the display was always really good! And it was always a really cold evening, so you had to wrap up warm in a big jacket and woolly hat and scarf and gloves!
They were the best nights for me and I love the memories I have of those evenings. I haven’t been to a proper firework display for several years, and this year I wasn’t organised enough to find one close by. Next year hopefully I’ll get my act together and make it to a display somewhere and I can perhaps relive some of the fond memories I have of this wonderful night!
The only downside of Bonfire Night? The endless nights of fireworks that go on for weeks and weeks. I mean seriously people, it’s one night of the year you don’t need to drag it out for 2 or 3 weeks!!
Hopefully Bonfire Night will always be a feature in the calender and we’ll always remember the story behind it. I’ll leave you with a quick reminder of the little rhyme that we all know and love about Bonfire Night:
Remember remember the 5th November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Stay safe this Bonfire Night everyone and have a wonderful evening wherever you are!
Much love x