Monday, 5 November 2018

Guy Fawkes Day

Today, 5 November, is known as Guy Fawkes Day, when traditionally people in Britain took to the streets and fields lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks to remember the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606) and accomplices were captured in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough explosive to send King James I of England and VI of Scotland and members of Parliament to the next life a few hours later at the opening of Parliament.

Over the years the Gunpowder Plot remembrance morphed into an annual tradition sustained by the economic benefit in the manufacture and sale and of fireworks (money up in smoke). The bonfires were a useful means of disposing of the year's detritus and anything else flammable. In my childhood community of Gorleston, Norfolk, the bonfire would be build on the beach well away from anything that could be accidentally burned. Traditionally the fire would be topped with a Guy made of straw and old clothes which had previously been paraded in a handcart round the community by kids asking for "A Penny for the Guy."

1 comment:

Bryan Douglas Cook said...

I was very good at sewing my "Guy". I got my father's old clothes, stuffed them with straw and put "Guy" on the clothes airing rack we used to pull up to the ceiling of our scullery. My poor old grandma came down next morning and let out a blood curdling wail.....she thought our George had hung himself.....such fond memories! Bryan