Friday, 5 November 2010

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Tonight in England is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night, where we build bonfires and set off fireworks. It celebrates the defeat of the Catholic plot to blow up parliament. Traditionally an effigy of Guy Fawkes or Pope Paul the V is burnt - 'burning the guy.

The above picture shows a fireworks night at a local school near me in Medway where we used to take the children. The surbuban housing estate where I live being not entirely suitable for firework displays.

In the neighbouring county of Sussex they still have bonfire societies that mount parades and so on. These days the English have rather lost interest in religion so effigies other than the guy are often burnt. Recent 'guys' have included Osama bin Laden, George Bush, a gypsy caravan, Condoleeza Rice, Jordon (Katie Price), Jonathon Ross, Saddam Hussein, Russell Brand and Cherie Blair. This year, the Edenbridge Bonfire Society is burning Man U striker, Wayne Rooney.

As you can see, a great politically incorrect time is had by all. Desperate attempts to ban the events by health and safety committees and outraged politicians are usually ignored - although these days you will see car bumper stickers with the legend "Come back Guy Fawkes - all is forgiven".

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!


  1. I've always thought this was a much more interesting tradition than our 4th of July BS in the US :) Cool post thank you sir!

  2. I'm hosting a Bonfire Party tonight for my family and several effigies will be burned during the evening. The kids love it!

    We always try to sing the rhyme above if only to keep the real meaning of the night alive before we break out the fireworks.

  3. Guy Fawkes - The only person that ever deserved to get into Parliament...

  4. Dear Excess
    Well, we don't exactly have an independence day so this is the next best thing.

  5. Dear lee
    One kinda stops when the kids grow up.

  6. Dear Ginge
    We do look at his efforts with different eyes, these days.

  7. We in the colonies still celebrate Guy Fawkes as well, and again just like the UK the fringe minority kick up a fuss as well.

    Bunch of kill joy tossers, against the wall I say! Good post.

  8. Who is Wayne Ronney? I heard that name somewhere....

    I like that you british people stick to your traditions.

    Have a nice holiday!

  9. Igi
    Wayne Rooney is an overpaid, underperfoming football star who plays for Manchester United and England. He recently has appeared in the papers for his whoring activities and for blackmailing the club for an even more obscene salary.

  10. Thanks!

    I'm not really into football. But it cheers me up not only the hungarian footballist are overpaid.