06 November 2009

Fireworks on Guy Fawkes Night


So we were having our morning tea break yesterday and it was one of those days when I couldn't seem to follow the conversations and so my mind would drift in and out of the room. And then I got caught off-guard when a colleague asked if I had bought fireworks. Sure, I saw some fireworks being sold at The Warehouse but I said I did not buy any. Besides, I thought fireworks are banned on New Year's Eve so even the fact that fireworks were being sold at all was a curiosity for me.

And then they chatted on about this Guy Fawkes guy. Another colleague noticed my confusion about the whole affair, and proceeded to explain. Yesterday was Guy Fawkes Night and there was going to be a fireworks display at the harbour. Plus, people can take this rare opportunity to purchase some fireworks for use at home! So who is Guy Fawkes anyway and why the celebration in his name?

Here's the gist:
Guy Fawkes Night is an annual celebration on the evening of 5 November. It marks the downfall of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the Houses of Parliament, in London, United Kingdom.


It is primarily marked in the United Kingdom where it was compulsory, by fiat, until 1859, to celebrate the deliverance of the King of Great Britain; but, it is also celebrated in former British colonies including New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and parts of the Caribbean. Bonfire Night was celebrated in Australia until the mid- to late 1970s, when sale and public use of fireworks was made illegal and the celebration was effectively abolished. It is also celebrated in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. Festivities are centred on the use of fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.


Well, that explains a bit, to be sure. Thanks Wikipedia! But what makes this more interesting for me is that fireworks are allowed on the 5th of November, but not on New Year's Eve. Making a lot of noise and having a lot of fun at the same time is something I always look forward to on the final day of the year, and why it's soooo quiet outside when the new year comes in is something I don't think I will ever be accustomed to.

Well, back to Guy Fawkes Night... a friend invited us to see the fireworks but around 150,000 people are expected to flock to the harbour to watch and there's still work the following day and so we settled for a distant view of the harbour at Black Rock Road in Newlands. And so we found ourselves at 9PM watching the fireworks in the distance with a small crowd who also thought better of braving the traffic. The kids were pretty excited about it and theier enthusiasm was quite infectious, though we also have our Fireworks Festival back in the Philippines of course, where different countries show off their pyrotechnic prowess!

Photo credit: Stuff.co.nz



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