Any true Brit should be able to reel off the next few lines that follow the subject of this post… If not, I’m very disappointed! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, November 5th, also called Guy Fawkes Night, is a day we learn about at school, where in 1605 a man named Guy Fawkes and a few of his stooges decided to blow up the UK’s Houses of Parliament, in an attempt to assassinate King James I and restore the throne with a Catholic monarch. Commonly known as ‘The Gunpowder Plot,’ as tons of the explosive were to be used in the event, the men failed in their conspiracy, were subsequently found, tried, then hung and quartered (we lived in a lovely time eh…)
Back then, effigies of Guy Fawkes were burnt as a way to celebrate the King’s escape from murder. Nowadays on Guy Fawkes Night we remember this occasion by holding firework shows, lighting sparklers or by having a bonfire in your own back garden, all 3 of which we have been doing in my family for many, many years. In popular and political culture, Fawkes has become a symbol of standing against the government – think of the Occupy movements and V for Vendetta!
I haven’t been able to celebrate November 5th in the UK for the past two years which is a real shame because obviously no-one really gives a damn about it in France, PLUS the French have super strict laws about who can buy and use fireworks, the availability of which requires authorization from the town hall and prior notification of the fire brigade…They just really don’t want me to have fun do they?
Tonight I will have to make do with burning a few candles while The Boy rustles up some hot-dogs at home with a cup of chocolat chaud. And maybe we’ll watch V for Vendetta, just to keep the spirit alive.
Are any UK readers celebrating tonight? If any ex-pats in Paris or elsewhere were able to make a night of it, let me know how it went!
Bisous! And remember…
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.