Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night 2018

Guy Fawkes – a summary

Guy Fawkes was born in York around 13 April 1570. Although there is some uncertainty surrounding the exact date of his birth, church archives confirm that he was baptised on 16th April 1570 at the church of St Michael le Belfrey. His parents Edward and Edith Fawkes were Protestant, and as such, it is believed that Guy was raised in the Protestant faith.

When he was eight years old, the young Fawkes attended St Peter’s School in York. It was here that he first made the acquaintance of two brothers, Jack and Christopher Wright, who would become his comrades in the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament some thirty years later.

Catholic conversion

Guy’s father died in 1579 when Guy was just nine-years-old and within two years his mother had remarried a Catholic man called Denis Bainbridge. Many believe that Guy’s conversion to the Catholic faith was due to his stepfather’s influence. It is unclear exactly when Fawkes adopted Catholicism, but it is widely accepted that he was a confirmed and devoted Catholic by the time he turned 21.

The year 1591 proved to be a momentous one for Fawkes. As soon as he came of age, he sold the property he had inherited from his father and made preparations to leave England for the Continent. An active and passionate man of striking appearance, Fawkes wasted no time in signing up to the Spanish Army of Flanders. He was to spend the next 12 years as a mercenary soldier in the Low Countries, fighting with Catholic forces against Protestant resistance. It was during this time that Fawkes, who had earned the reputation of a good-living, loyal and brave soldier, gained a thorough knowledge of gunpowder – and it was this expertise which was to ultimately lead to his downfall.

The willing recruit

It may surprise many to learn that Guy Fawkes, despite his name being synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, was not the main architect of the conspiracy. The scheme was proposed by a group of Catholic cousins in England, two of whom were Guy’s old school-friends, the Wright brothers. The leader of this tight-knit group of conspirators set about recruiting Fawkes on the strength of his reputation as a courageous soldier, his loyalty to his Catholic faith and, of course, his gunpowder expertise. Fawkes, who had by then adopted the name Guido, proved to be a willing recruit; he landed in England in April 1604, ready to take up the Catholic cause.
And so began Guido Fawkes’s involvement with the doomed plot to blow up King James I, Lords and Commons on November 5th, 1605. The scheme was foiled, and Guido was caught red-handed, on the night of 4th November, in a vault under the Palace of Westminster. This vault contained 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough to blow the Houses of Parliament sky-high. He was arrested, imprisoned in the Tower of London and tortured. He succumbed on the night of 7th November and confessed all to his inquisitors. His fate was sealed.

A traitor’s death

Fawkes’s trial took place on 27th January 1606. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by the grotesque means of hanging, drawing and quartering (this gruesome sentence was common for those convicted of betraying King and country). However, Fawkes’s execution, which took place on 31st January, was mercifully swift; the hangman’s noose broke his neck and he was thus spared the agony of a traitor’s death.
Every year on 5th November, as bonfires blazed throughout the Kingdom to commemorate the King’s deliverance from the terrorist plot, the legend of Guy Fawkes became inextricably linked with the story of the Gunpowder Plot, to the extent that 5th November has become known as ‘Guy Fawkes Night’. His legend continues unabated to this day.

Bonfire night

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night or Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5th November, primarily in Great Britain. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.

Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong Protestant religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment. Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations common folk burnt effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope. Towards the end of the 18th century reports appear of children begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes and 5th November gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Day. Towns such as Lewes and Guildford were in the 19th century scenes of increasingly violent class-based confrontations, fostering traditions those towns celebrate still, albeit peaceably. In the 1850s changing attitudes resulted in the toning down of much of the day’s anti-Catholic rhetoric, and the Observance of 5th November Act was repealed in 1859. Eventually the violence was dealt with, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration, although lacking much of its original focus. The present-day Guy Fawkes Night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a bonfire and extravagant firework displays.

Bonfire and Fireworks Events

 

When do the clocks change?

clock and bed

British Summer Time ends

It's that time of year again where we turn the clocks backwards and all get one hour more in bed!

The clocks go back on the 28th October of this year. In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.
The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST). There's more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).
When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

By the meteorological calendar, spring starts on 1 March. The seasons are defined as Spring (March, April, May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn (September, October, November) and Winter (December, January, February). In 2016 it was a particularly special year as it marked 100 years since we first changed our clocks like this. 

Whose idea was it to change the clocks?

An American politician and inventor called Benjamin Franklin first came up with the idea while in Paris in 1784. He suggested that if people got up earlier, when it was lighter, then it would save on candles. But it arrived in the UK after Coldplay singer Chris Martin's great-great-grandfather, a builder called William Willett, thought it was a good idea too.

In 1907, he published a leaflet called The Waste of Daylight, encouraging people to get out of bed earlier. Willett was a keen golfer and he got cross when his games would be cut short because the Sun went down and there wasn't enough light to carry on playing.

When did we start changing our clocks?

The idea of moving the clocks forwards and backwards was discussed by the government in 1908, but many people didn't like it so it wasn't made a law.
Willett spent his life trying to convince people that it was a good idea, but it was only introduced in the UK in 1916 - a year after he died.

It was actually first introduced by the Germans in World War One, just before the UK did it.
During World War Two, the UK actually used what was called British Double Summer Time (BDST), when the clocks were ahead by an extra hour during the summer. But this didn't last for very long.

Now, the UK's clocks always go back by one hour on the last Sunday in October and forward by one hour on the last Sunday in March.
Moving clocks like this is now done in some countries across the world, but many still don't do this.

What do people think of it?

Many people have different opinions about whether we should change our clocks like this. Some think having BST is a good thing because it saves energy, by making better use of natural daylight, and helps to reduce traffic accidents.
Others don't like it because they argue that it doesn't actually save any energy, and it can make it darker when children are going to school in the morning, which can be dangerous. They also think it is not very good for our health.

 

clock

Happy Halloween 2018

tree

With the days getting shorter & the nights drawing longer & colder, Halloween will soon be upon us. It won't be long before you need to get those scary costumes out and scare your friends or end up at a Monster Mash! So if you're going to a Halloween Party be sure to book us early as we can get fully booked at this time of year and let us know how scary you're going to be so we can warn the driver!

So to avoid disappointment, yes, you know the drill, use our booking form on this site or simply call us for availability.

 

Halloween 2018

Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2018 occurs on Wednesday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.
When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.
The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

All Saints Day

On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.
By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related church-sanctioned holiday.
All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween Travels to America

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.
As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.
Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally.

Trick-or-Treat

Borrowing from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.
Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its supHalloween Parties erstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

Halloween Parties

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague some celebrations in many communities during this time.
By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated.
Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.
Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.

pumpkins

 

A Halloween Poem

Halloween Night
© Denise M. Cocchiaro

Published: October 2015

When days grow short and nights get cold
And autumn trees turn red and gold,
Move, we may, through sun drenched days
'Midst leaves and berries and bales of hay.

In our hearts we feel the lure
Toward darkness, shivers, and things not pure,
While ghostly shadows creep slowly by,
Spying on witches and brooms that fly.

Icy fingers that grab their prey
And do bad things 'til night turns to day.
Heed this plea to stay inside.
Find covers and blankets and sheets to hide.

Slowly this night will fade to day
And fiends and monsters will crawl away.
Once a year, on this dank night,
We'll shake and shiver 'til morning light.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/halloween-night-4