Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bonfire Night

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

On a clear, cold November night, the time is right to gather friends around a bonfire to herald the shorter days that are upon us, and to remember the story of Guy Fawkes. This English tradition of burning a "Guy" to represent the man who, in 1605, attempted to blow up the British Parliament has taken on contemporary meaning as thousands of protesters involved in the "Occupy Wall Street" movement donned Guy Fawkes masks, perhaps celebrating his rebel's spirit.

Around here, we build a "guy" out of old clothes stuffed with newspaper. I proudly draw his face; somehow, I always manage to capture that expression of both defeat and disdain for his captors that I imagine Guy Fawkes wore when it came time for his exectution, all with a Sharpie marker! The man himself was executed by being hung till almost dead, then drawn and quartered. The English sure know how to deal with dissenters, don't they? That'll teach 'em...

 We howl and hoot, and raise a glass to all rebels and dissenters everywhere. Not that we condone blowing things up to get your point across. But you do kind of have to admire Guy Fawkes' spirit, right?
 The children are even more delighted than the grownups.
I used my fancy nighttime lens to get these cool shots. No, I didn't. I just did the best I could with my beloved little cheapy. Jude's latest headgear is an old skiddo helmet, a gift from his grandpa.
This is one of those traditions that I suspect my children will carry with them into their adulthoods. They'll remember the feeling of anticipation as daddy lights the fire, and mommy lights candles all around the front porch to welcome our guests; the excitement as friends arrive, and the wild abandon of being out late on a cold November night, the moon and stars adding their light to that of the bonfire.
There is a certain magic to Bonfire Night that has made it one of our family's favourite traditions.


  1. Looks like a great fun evening. Here’s to rabble-rousers the world over.

  2. Next year, we will try to attend. That or start our own Guy Fawkes tradition here. We loves us a good bonfire!!

  3. ooh, bonfire night! Where we are now, there are no fires allowed, at we made do and bought a gas fire pit. Yeah, um, totally lame. Mind you, now I don't have to worry about the neighborhood burning to the ground :)
    We always miss the big bonfire our friends have in the east, this year 2 old houses were torn down and added to the pile, which gets accumulated over the year. It's sort of a control burn...meaning the guys holding the beer may also be with the volunteer fire brigade.

  4. How much fun! I haven't celebrated Guy Fawkes since my grade four teacher helped us celebrate, many years ago. I don't spend nearly enough time near campfires.

  5. Now THAT looks like fun! Can you see that I'm pouting about having missed it? I WAS out dancing and merry-making with friends and family...but THERE WAS NO BONFIRE. Bonfires are the best.


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