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Photo Friday - Guy Fawkes Day

 Dear Reader,

Please be kind to one so ignorant.

I had heard of Guy Fawkes day as a child, but only know it was associated with the bonefires some folks here would light on Halloween night. Apparently a very old tradition, which was quickly dying out. I had been told they were fires symbolic of burning witches. In my child's mind I thought that was a good thing. Bad enough that witches were allowed to roam around on Halloween. Good thing they had the fires to get rid of them. I was very young at the time.

Since Guy Fawkes day was suggested for photo Friday, I decided to learn more about this British holiday. Is it a holiday? Doesn't holiday connotate holy day? It seems Guy Fawkes was considered to be somewhat un-holy, almost devilish. So, perhaps the word is celebration. I can't figure out how this man who was supposed to be the enemy came to have such a permanent and feted place in history. I must be reading it all wrong, and quite oblivious of what it all about.

But, then, I can imagine how others may view some of the festivities held here in America. The real history of Thanksgiving, for example, is very different from what I was taught as a child. The pilgrims did not get together with the natives to have a grand harvest meal in gratitude to God for bringing them together. Columbus day is a ruse, but children still get that day off from school, and banks are closed in observance. A lot of Native-Americans protest that Columbus day should not be recognized at all, as it commemorates the beginning of the loss (rape) of their people and land.

Bonfires are very much celebrated by young people here in the U.S. in a whole different way. It's called Burning Man. It is a week long festival culminating in the burning of the man. It ends the day before Labor Day, another American Holiday which I don't understand.

It is called Burning Man because a 40 foot tall effigy of a man is set on fire with as much pyrotechnics as possible every year. This is a very pagan type of festival and last year had about 40,000 attendees. Those who celebrate go off into the most barren part of the desert, the only land where they can do this without causing havoc to the rest of society.

It is now against the law to have bonfires in most states, burning of leaves or farm field debris, without a license to do so. Permission and knowledge of the burn date is coordinated with the local weather outlook. Sometimes these well planned burn dates go tragically wrong. Weather changes, wind and fires get out of control. Acres and acres of dry brittle brush and trees burn. Wildfires we call them. Forest fires when the true forests are involved.

So, the closest thing I can do to present photos symbolic of Guy Fawkes day is to share a pictures taken at Burning Man Celebration. I hope my extrapolation has not been too extreme.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elizabeth, Your musings were intersting. Sorry i tend to forget that over the pond you do things differently.
    In the UK what we are actually celebrating is that Guy Fawkes
    was foiled in carrying out the gunpowder plot. Hence we burn a guy on top of a bonfire and send off fireworks to celebrate.

    Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries,belonged to a group of Roman Catholic restorationists from England who planned the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Their aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I and the entire Protestant, and even most of the Catholic, aristocracy and nobility were inside. The conspirators saw this as a necessary reaction to the systematic discrimination against English Catholics.

    The Gunpowder Plot was led by Robert Catesby, but Fawkes was put in charge of its execution. He was arrested a few hours before the planned explosion, during a search of the cellars underneath Parliament in the early hours of 5 November prompted by the receipt of an anonymous warning letter.

    Guy Fawkes Night (or "bonfire night"), held on 5 November in the United Kingdom and some parts of the Commonwealth, is a commemoration of the plot, during which an effigy of Fawkes is burned, often accompanied by a fireworks display. The word "guy", meaning "man" or "person", is derived from his name.

    Interestingly ~ I'm not sure many folk would stop Guy Fawkes these days ~ since the current UK government is largely despised and considered corrupt.


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