Lamenting the Decline of Bonfire Night

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Bonfire Night SparklerAs you might have guessed, if you are a regular reader of Fancy Dress UK, I simply adore dressing up in fancy dress costumes.

Therefore, you may have assumed that I would be extremely pleased with the fact that Halloween has simply exploded in this country in recent years, becoming the third most popular holiday in the UK after Christmas and Easter.

Well, yes and no! Although, I am pleased that more and more people are dressing up to celebrate Halloween, I was somewhat saddened to hear the news that this rapid rise in popularity has come at a price – for it seems that with the rise of Halloween has come the decline of that other great autumnal festival, Bonfire Night.

And that is a real shame. Unlike many European countries, Britain does not have too many traditions left that are peculiar only to us – Bonfire Night is one of the few. It celebrates the foiling of perhaps the most infamous act of terrorism on these shores and if that is not worth remembering, then surely happy childhood memories are.

Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Day) was my 2nd favourite night of the year when I was a boy, only after Christmas Eve. It was very much a family occasion where we would go the nearest organised fireworks display and stand in front of a bonfire, with a burning guy atop of it, and watch mesmerised as the fireworks went off up above.

In one hand we would have a cup of hot soup and in the other a sparkler, with which we would sign our name into the air. The exploding fireworks, the crackle of the fire and the excited murmurs from the gathered crowd would make for a tremendous atmosphere. I loved Bonfire Night, it would be a shame if it eventually becomes a forgotten tradition.

Of course, “remembering” is a theme closely associated with the celebration and so for that reason I have decided to write the famous rhyme in full below, lest we forget. Oh, and if you are keeping the festival alive tonight, then please remember – Be safe!

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!