Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I had plans of hiking near Chiddingfold yesterday
to capture the building of their annual bonfire

But with mud and a grey sky that doesn't bode well for photography,
I skipped it

Yesterday ended with sun and puddles

Rain in England varies between 
a gentle drizzle so soft you can't feel it
to a 'gully washer'

Interestingly, thunder and lightning are rare

Since we turned our clocks back last week
{ a week before the US }
the sky starts to darken at 3:30p

Although Halloween is not really celebrated here,
Guy Fawkes Night certainly is

'Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!'
{ first stanza of English nursery rhyme }

This is THE holiday in England where people congregate 
for bonfires, sparklers, fireworks, games, mulled wine, food, 
and merriment

Over the weekend
'Bonfire Night' will occur in backyards, schools and municipalities across England

Aside from 'one-off' occasions 
{ i.e. street parties for the 2010 Royal Wedding }
Bonfire Night is the only holiday that brings people out of their homes
to mingle among neighbors and strangers

Bonfires are built with garden waste, furniture, fencing - whatever

An effigy of Guy Fawkes, like a scarecrow, is created 

It is a tradition for children to show their Guy effigy to neighbors, 
who may give them 'a penny for the Guy' who will soon be burned over the bonfire

The fireworks curfew {11p-7a} is extended for Bonfire Night {midnight}
and likewise for Diwali, New Year, and Chinese New Year {1am}

Sales of fireworks louder than 120 decibels are banned

Although effigies and pyres sound dark and macabre,
it is a joyous and treasured tradition in England

'Guy' at my neighbor's house

In 1605, Guy Fawkes was a Catholic soldier who intended a coup known as the Gunpowder Plot
He and twelve others planned { and failed } to blow up Parliament to kill King James I of England

Although some evidence implies Guy and his crew may have been framed,
they were executed for the conspiracy

caricature of Guy Fawkes
[ via Bonfire Night website ]

King James I was also King James VI,
which confuses me no end

King James VI and I
[ wikipedia ]

Born in Edinburgh Castle in 1566, King James VI's mother was Mary, Queen of Scots

In 1586, James VI and Queen Elizabeth I of England became allies under the Treaty of Berwich

When James's mother was executed by Elizabeth I the following year, he became King of Scots 
and later was named Elizabeth's successor in 1603 upon her death
thus inheriting the Kingdom of England { including Wales } in the Union Of The Crowns

{ Scotland and England were politically united in 1707 under Queen Anne }

This made King James VI of Scotland also King James I of England 
and the first Stuart monarch to rule England

A Protestant, he commissioned the writing of the Authorised King James's Version of the Bible
which is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year

Most surviving original copies of the KJV Bible are housed
in universities and cathedrals in the UK and US

But earlier this year a little church by the name of 
St. Laurence Church in Hilmarton, England 
discovered their copy to be one of the original 200 printings

{ Imagine their delight! }

I find it interesting that in a country overflowing with history,
Guy Fawkes Day is the only annual holiday 
that puts a finger on an actual historical English event

And with that history another tradition has formed in the Palace of Westminster:

In present day the Yeomen of the Guard searches the cellars 
where the famous gunpowder was stored 
before the Queen enters Parliament during her annual 'State Opening of Parliament'


Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are :)

all photos by me unless otherwise noted

Sources: Wikipedia 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, BBC 1, 2, Bonfire Night, Fireworks UK