Gunpowder, Treason & Plot Remembered On Bonfire Night | Sharon Henry
There’s possibly no truer example of St Helena’s ‘Britishness’ than our 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.
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earlier in the day asking for a ‘penny,’ a practice which has unfortunately declined in popularity over the years, superseded by ‘trick or treating’ which earns kids a lot more swag.
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
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.
We’re told by the event organisers this was the best turnout they’ve had for years; over 250 people.
Hopefully Bonfire Night will remain a firm fixture on St Helena’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.
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…