Tonight is Guy Fawkes night, also known as fireworks night or bonfire night. It is way bigger than Halloween here, so I'm told. It is based around a character at the centre of the plot to blow up the parliament buildings in the early 1600s. To commemorate Fawkes, residents the United Kingdom over set off thousands of dollars in fireworks (I don't know, and pretend they are gun powder going off...) and even occasionally light big bonfires where they burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Kind of morbid the whole burning people at the stake bit but then again, what do I know. They also seem to love Fawkes in a strange kind of way. I guess it could be compared to how North Americans celebrate Halloween: we are scared of and revile images of monsters and devil, but we love to be frightened by them and to dress our children up like them.
It is only 3:45 p.m. and I can already hear people setting off fireworks. There doesn't seem to be any of the warnings that always surrounds the use of them in Canada. I can remember seeing commercials warning people that fireworks aren't toys and that you would loose your hand if you weren't careful. Not so here. Even Chris' parents and young nephews are getting into the action and setting off a few crackers in the backyard tonight.
And now, the rhyme the little children are singing in the streets:
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think 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
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King
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