St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night Celebrations

/, St Helena/St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night Celebrations

St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night Celebrations

Through the window inside the Sandy Bay community centre. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Through the window inside the Sandy Bay community centre.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot Remembered On Bonfire Night | Sharon Henry

There’s possibly no truer example of our ‘Britishness’ than St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night celebrations.  We always ‘remember, remember the 5th of November’ together with the traditional ‘Penny for the Guy’ ditty.  No different to any town or village you’ll find in England.

Despite the fog and rain (at last), dozens headed out into the damp evening on Saturday for bonfire night at Sandy Bay.

Lighting the bonfire was a bit of a challenge because of all the rain earlier, but it didn't delay things too long. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Lighting the bonfire was a bit of a challenge because of all the rain earlier, but it didn’t delay things too long.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Ashes To Ashes

Before the lighting of the bonfire at 8pm ‘What The Saints Did Next’ were sworn in as official judges to choose the best Guys of the night!  As is tradition children carried these ‘Guy’ effigies around their neighbourhoods earlier in the day asking for a ‘penny,’ a practice which has unfortunately declined in popularity over the years, superseded by ‘trick or treating’ which earns kids a lot more swag.

A few of the Guy Fawkes on display in the community centre, before the bonfire is lit. At least eight of these chappies were presented on the night before being burned. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

A few of the Guy Fawkes on display in the community centre, before the bonfire is lit. At least eight of these chappies were presented on the night before being burned.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Much effort, creativity and selfless donation of still wearable clothing went into these fine specimens which were later gleefully tossed, one by one, onto the enormous fire.  It sounds so cruel.

The Big Bang – St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night

The food counter selling hot dogs, soup and chicken ‘n’ chips were busy on their feet, as were the bartenders.  Country music mixed with 80s pop set a party atmosphere as kids, faces glowing, stood as close as they dared to the blaze.  The Fire Department were on standby in the event of any mishaps.

The bang and flash of fireworks was the joyful surprise of the night.  The appreciative audience craned their necks until the fireworks fizzled out along with some of the young kid’s energy.

The 'fire lighters' stand back as the blaze begins to take hold. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

The ‘fire lighters’ stand back as the blaze begins to take hold.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Caught in the fire glow - over 250 people from across the island came along to enjoy the traditional end to Guy Fawkes Day. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Caught in the fire glow – over 250 people from across the island came along to enjoy the traditional end to Guy Fawkes Day.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Guy Fawkes Day is still plenty of fun for children. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Guy Fawkes Day is still plenty of fun for children.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Approaching the fire ready to throw Mr Guy Fawkes in. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Approaching the fire ready to throw Mr Guy Fawkes in.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

A spectacular bonfire in Sandy Bay for Guy Fawkes Day. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

A spectacular bonfire in Sandy Bay for Guy Fawkes Day.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Happy group of school kids enjoying the bonfire and glad the rain has stopped for a bit. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Happy group of school kids enjoying the bonfire and glad the rain has stopped for a bit.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

This is what happens when you mis-behave young man! - A Guy about to be thrown onto the bonfire in Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

This is what happens when you mis-behave young man! – A Guy about to be thrown onto the bonfire in Sandy Bay.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November... Guy Fawkes sent flying onto the burning heap. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November… Guy Fawkes sent flying onto the burning heap.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

It was a little bit chilly outside - these two watching the show from inside the Sandy Bay community centre. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

It was a little bit chilly outside – these two watching the show from inside the Sandy Bay community centre.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

A spectacular bonfire in Sandy Bay for Guy Fawkes Day. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

A spectacular bonfire in Sandy Bay for Guy Fawkes Day.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Enjoying the night out in Sandy Bay, celebrating the end of Guy Fawkes Day. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Enjoying the night out in Sandy Bay, celebrating the end of Guy Fawkes Day.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Islanders out for the night, feeling the heat from the blaze even on the community centre verandah. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Islanders out for the night, feeling the heat from the blaze even on the community centre verandah.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks launched from near SHAPE as the bonfire begins to die down. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks launched from near SHAPE as the bonfire begins to die down.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks display rounds the night off. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks display rounds the night off.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks display rounds the night off. Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Fireworks display rounds the night off.
Bonfire night in Sandy Bay, St Helena Island.

Christmas Countdown

We’re told by the event organisers this was the best turnout they’ve had for years; over 250 people.

Hopefully St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night will remain a firm fixture on the island’s calendar of events for many years to come.  I have the woody smell of smoke in my hair and the knowledge that the countdown to Christmas has begun – after Guy Fawkes Day it’s just 50 days remaining.

A young boy on the nearby swings watches on as the fire finally starts to die down. Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

A young boy on the nearby swings watches on as the fire finally starts to die down.
Sandy Bay, St Helena Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night.

Guy Fawkes History

Guy Fawkes Night is held annually on 5 November. It is also known as Bonfire Night and marks the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organised by Catholic conspirators, which included Guy Fawkes, to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.  The explosives would have been set off when King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) and many parliamentary members were in the building. The conspirators were later arrested, tortured and executed.  To celebrate the plots failure many people light bonfires, burn guy effigies and set off fireworks.

Remember Remember poem

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

By |2018-06-29T02:51:28+00:00November 6th, 2016|Culture, St Helena|6 Comments

About the Author:

6 Comments

  1. Baygal November 6, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Great post. Glad my home town put on a good show 😊. Make me miss home now 😟

    • Saints November 6, 2016 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      They sure did Baygal – and keeping the home fires burning until you come back 🙂

  2. Andy November 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Great pictures and story as always. Keep up the good work

    • Saints November 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Andy – especially enjoyed doing the night photography for this post.

  3. Roger Bagley November 6, 2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

    A lovely account Sharon of a joyful occasion. What a bitter irony about the rain.

    • Saints November 6, 2016 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Roger – it was a lovely evening, Sandy Bay people don’t let a little rain spoil their fun 🙂

Leave A Comment

error: Content is protected !!