commemorates the failed plot of Guy Fawkes to blow up the houses of Parliament in 1605. There were 13 conspirators but he was the one caught sneaking into the cellar to light the explosives.
He was sentenced to be hung drawn and quartered but leapt to his death to avoid that horror.
The Houses of Parliament are still searched once a year to make sure no one is hiding underneath with explosives although the actual cellar where Guy Fawkes was caught no longer exists.
When I was a kid we made gigantic bonfires in our back yard, made a 'guy', (effigy of Guy Fawkes) to burn on the fire, let off crackers and had a party with our friends. Everyone else in the nieghbourhood was doing the same thing and it was a thrill to watch all these bonfires with flames leaping into the sky. We threw fire crackers and my older, braver brothers I'm sure threw them on the fire to scare the wits out of us. Oh and sparklers held in hand. How brave we felt. Catherine wheels which whizzed along the ground.
Later on as teenagers, girl guides and boy scouts we organized bonfires with a sausage sizzle, a bbqed sausage on a slice of bread with a squirt of tomato sauce. Blackened sausages which burnt your mouth, the messiest, most heavenly grub a child could eat.
I haven't celebrated Guy Fawkes since I left NZ in 1976. It is one tradition I did not carry on with my children here in Greece. The first years we lived in the city and bonfires were not possible then when we moved to Crete and had a backyard I was too immersed in Greek tradition. Next Year with the grandchildren? It would be fun, though I think we'd have to forego the fire crackers. They would scare the hell out of the goats.
- How many safety inspectors does it take to light the bonfire?
Four. One to light the match and three to hold the fire extinguisher.
- How many civil servants does it take to set fire to Guy Fawkes? Twenty three.
One to strike the match and twenty two to fill in the paper work.
- How many Mafia hitmen does it take to light the bonfire?
Three. One to set fire to the effigy, one to watch his back, and one to shoot any witnesses.