Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sunday stills:In the dark

It was Guy Fawkes night, a perfect night to go out to take photos of kids and parents lighting their fireworks to celebrate the foiling of the gunpowder plot which Guy Fawkes and his friends planned to blow the House of Lords with their King, King James in 1605.

But my camera ran out of battery, so here are some archives photos of when I went to Australia, which incidentally do not celebrate Guy Fawkes, so told to me by an Australian friend yesterday.

To those of you who are not familiar with Guy Fawkes, this year, I taught my students why Guy Fawkes was celebrated.

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 in 1978. 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. A member of his plot had a brother who was a member of the House of Lords. So he squealed on Guy telling his brother not to go to work that day. The message went to the King, 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.

Once, 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 then 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. Fireworks can be sold only 4 days before the day.

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.
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Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» knows the story of Guy Fawkes, but he had no idea that the 'day' is celebrated in NZ.

Anonymous said...

i really like that water shot, nice one

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, how cultures blend or do not. What an adventure.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Pretty green lights in your picture. We used to celebrate this many many years ago, but I think not now, or else it has been given another name.

Firas said...

Nice piece of history, & cool shots. I like the kids photo :)

Ed said...

Great shots and fascinating story..:-)

Janice said...

eakiediGood shots, love the second one.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great story Ann! I like the second looks like a real cool place:)

Anonymous said...

stories makes the shot worth it, good to share always, thanks :)

diane b said...

We used to celebrate it here a long long time ago. Then the day was moved to 24 May to celebrate Empire day instead. One of the reasons was because of the high fire danger in November. However , it is not celebrated anymore and fireworks are banned from being sold to over the counter. I think you have to have a special permit to buy them for special occasions.

Ensurai said...

Lovely shots!!