Monday, November 5, 2007

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

Tonight is Guy Fawkes' night, and after a week and a half's worth, I must say fireworks are getting old. For those of you who've yet to see "V for Vendetta" the 5th of November lives in infamy for the Gunpowder Plot, a scheme between some Roman Catholic blokes to blow up Parliament with dirty James I inside, thus killing the Protestant heir. Apparently, one of the plotters wrote a letter to a Catholic Parliament member to warn him against attending that day, and his brother in Christ turned him in and caught Guy Fawkes red-handed. Poor Guy was tortured brutally and hung, and ever since he (and for awhile the Pope, but no longer) were burned in effigy every November 5th. Children were especially fond of the holiday and collected pennies from neighbors (or neighbours if you will) for fireworks.

Sadly, children can no longer purchase fireworks, and the holiday is often simply called "Bonfire Night." Since its on a Monday night this year, the real bonfire was on Saturday night in combination with a carnival at Loughborough Uni. It was an absolute zoo! I had to leave Ryan and some friends to find the ladies' and almost never found them again except for our very tall and awesomely-named Basque friend, Xalbat. (pronounced with a "zs" sound like "zsa zsa Gabor")

The fireworks display truly put all the 4th of July shows that I've seen to shame. They shot off so many simultaneously that it almost melted my brain in sheer amazement. (They did charge us 4 pounds a head to get it, I'm assuming they spent every penny of it on the combustibles). The only really disappointing thing was a missing Guy-- no Guy Fawkes at all! Apparently the whole "death to traitors and papists" thing is out of style and its really just a giant bonfire/excuse to drink (like they need it!). I think America should perhaps steal this concept. Think about it. Guy Fawkes was a terrorist, and aren't we at war with terrorism? The English have burned him in effigy every year for 400 years! That's probably how long we'll be at war with the terrorists and we've got to keep morale up somehow! Making a national holiday with fire and alcohol would at least give us one good thing that's come out of this war.

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