Remember, remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot
On the night of November 5th 1605, a Yorkshireman called Guy Fawkes had hidden 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath the Houses of Parliament in London. His plan, along with a group of co-conspirators, was to blow up the King, James 1st, along with his Parliament when it opened on that date. The group were caught and executed. This was called the Gunpowder Plot. To celebrate his deliverance, the King he ordered a great bonfire to celebrate the night and the rest, as we say, is history.
Today 500 years later Bonfire Night, Plot Night or even Guy Fawkes Night, as it is similarly called, is still a major celebration in the UK. It is a very simple celebration with a fire, a guy (a dummy put on the top of the fire – nowadays less popular), fireworks, sparklers and food such as plot toffee, toffee apples, parkin (a Yorkshire delicacy but eaten across the UK) jacket potatoes, hot soup and today perhaps burgers and hot-dogs. The whole party will be outside in the open air so, as it is usually quite cold, Bonfire Night events are not very long and you do need to wrap up warm with hats, scarves and gloves.
In Kirkby Fleetham each year (on the Sunday closest to November 5th) we celebrate Bonfire Night on the village green. This year’s celebration was just yesterday. The weather was perfect – dry, no wind, a full-moon and a crisp November air! Our committee spent the afternoon erecting a tent, setting up the firework display and preparing all the food and drink.
The evening certainly went off with a bang! We didn’t have a bonfire just fireworks. A great crowd arrived they munched hot dogs and flapjack, drank hot, home-made soup and imbibed pints of local beer and hot mulled wine. We had some wonderful entries in our pumpkin competition and the main event, the firework display was amazing, well coordinated with some great music and lasted almost 15 minutes – “Just like Disney Land” one person said!!
I’m not sure about Disney Land but for such a small community it was impressive. Bonfire Night is a very small and intimate celebration but it lights up a dark and cold part of the year and if only for that it is most welcome!