Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot …
and if you don’t recognise or remember this rhyme, I have to ask, where have you been for the – oh, last hundred years or so?
I’ve just come fresh from a night of Halloween trick or treating and am preparing myself for the 5th of November (today, that is). As a kid this was never a problem. The parents bought boxes of fireworks, family came round, night fell and fireworks were lit. The gorgeous night sky in the countryside where we lived lit up with sparkling brilliance in ice whites, yellows, greens, reds, blues and my favourite, purple. We didn’t build a bonfire or burn an effigy (perhaps we were a bit less bloodthirsty, not sure), but those evenings still hold some of my best memories.
If you are one of the ones that have no idea of what Guy Fawkes is about, let me draw your attention to Messrs. Wiki:
Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in Great Britain.
Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.
There is a lot more history to do with Guy Fawkes, pages of the stuff, but you have the bare bones of it for now.
What I have noticed over the years is that the day itself has morphed into something of a trial for many people and in many cases, understandably so. Apart from human beings seeming to sometimes have an in-built twit gene (setting off fireworks in an enclosed space; near flammable materials and nowhere near water and allowing children to light fireworks unmonitored), the effect that the explosions have on animals is pretty devastating and horrific + they don’t get to have a say in the matter.
So sadly I must say that although I’ve always really loved fireworks and would love to celebrate the day in style, this has been tempered over the years with a responsibility towards our four legged friends and I no longer buy or set off fireworks. This is, of course, a personal opinion.
The good news I suppose is that the lighting of bonfires and fireworks displays are more organised now, which means you have the opportunity to plan if you’re staying in to keep your pets calm and safe.
However you choose to observe (or ignore) this 5th of November, please keep yourself safe, keep some water handy (to drink and for dousing) and enjoy the illuminated night skies.
updated from a blog 5 Nov 2014