Friday, November 14, 2008

Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Day has just come and gone, but every night, I can still hear the bangs and the squish sounds of fire works.

New Zealand is not part of UK, but Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of New Zealand. Guy Fawkes day is celebrated on November 5th. When I first arrived to NZ from Canada, my friends invited me to a party. They had an effigy of Guy, and they burnt Guy in a bon fire they built in the back yard. They explained that back in 1605, Guy went to the cellar of the Parliament house of England and tried to blow up the building and all the members of parliament. Someone squealed on him, and they caught him red handed. He was executed for treason.

Hence, every year to commemorate the arrest of this villain, the people of England celebrate this day with bon fire and fireworks. Many of the immigrants to NZ were Anglo Saxon. They brought this traditional celebration to their new country. However, over time, many people do not really know the history or care to find out. It is a chance for fun. Companies import expensive fireworks, and it is quite magnificent to see the cascading "stars" from the fire works. Most people don't remember the effigy or the bon fire.

I went to a park nearest to my house to watch the fire works with my son. He was frightened with the loud sounds. There were people of all ethnic groups, the Polynesian islanders, the Chinese, The Korean, Indians, Sri Lankans , and refugees like Somalian and Sudanese. They were just lighting the fireworks which I feel is money up in smoke. To them, it was just a fun time.

The day after Guy Fawkes, I asked my students if they lit any fire works. Most of them did, and most of them knew the story of Guy Fawkes. Their teachers had told them. They tell me that they spent hundreds of dollars. One boy even boasted that he spent a thousand dollars. Then he clarified that they had a party with extended family of uncles and cousins.

To end this story with a sad note, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clarke threatened to ban fireworks if people were not responsible. One has to be over eighteen to buy fire works. Hooligans burned a pediatric clinic, a teenage boy was arrested because he threw a sparkler into the bedroom of house and burnt the whole house down. This is a sad testimony, the tenants of this house were overseas volunteers to the Department of Conservation. A baby girl's face was badly burn when some firework was thrown into her pram. Household cats and dogs have been frightened and burnt. Pet owners have resorted to giving their pets tranquilizers to induce them to sleep. I am gutted by such horrible stories, and am not disappointed if the ban is on

No comments: