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Still Waters

Halloween v Bonfire Night

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For years now, Halloween has been ballooning as an event in the UK, influenced heavily by the US. But is it squashing the indigenous Bonfire Night?

The dust has now settled on the Halloween-Bonfire Night period.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-20206853

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Halloween is certainly big-business her in NI. My local suupermarket put up it's Christmas tree on 31st Oct. It's all "sell, sell, sell" all about the money.

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I had never heard of Bonfire Night. Is it widely celebrated in the UK?

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I had never heard of Bonfire Night. Is it widely celebrated in the UK?

yes, it goes back to the year 1605 - the gunpowder plot to kill the King, a group conspired to assassinate the king but failed, the gunpowder they planted was discovered and a man by the name of Guy Fawkes was captured. so every year since we celebrate the fact the king survived by burning bonfires, usually with the effigy of Guy Fawkes placed on top of the bonfire.

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yes, it goes back to the year 1605 - the gunpowder plot to kill the King, a group conspired to assassinate the king but failed, the gunpowder they planted was discovered and a man by the name of Guy Fawkes was captured. so every year since we celebrate the fact the king survived by burning bonfires, usually with the effigy of Guy Fawkes placed on top of the bonfire.

Hey this right of the movie V for Vendetta...

Just kidding I knew Guy Fawkes was for real.

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I love them both. this is my favourite time of year.

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The US import of trick or treat has zero connection with the original Pagan Halloween celebration/fire festival.

Fireworks now tend to go from October thru to the new calendar year...

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The celebrations of 5th November do seem to have declined in recent years, whereas the silly Americanised celebrations of 31st October - a festival which should be about death rather than celebration - do seem to have increased.

There are nowhere near as many bonfires with effigies of Guy Fawkes burning on top of them as there were when I was younger. And fireworks? As a kid there were so many fireworks on Guy Fawkes Night that it sounded like the Blitz. Now there are just the odd one or two fireworks here and there. And how often do you see kids sitting on street corners with a life-sized Guy Fawkes effigy asking for "a penny for the Guy" nowadays? You never see it now.

There is a big field right in front of my house. On this year's bonfire night all there was on it was a poxy little fire like you see in someone's fireplace with a few people setting of a few poxy fireworks. What happened to the huge professional bonfires and fireworks displays, where whole families would attend, braving the cold and eating treacle toffee and black peas in vinegar?

The only place nowadays which celebrates Guy Fawkes Night properly is Lewes in Sussex. There they not only burn effigies of Guy Fawkes on top of bonfires but they also burn effigies of the Pope, and take part in processions through the town with flaming torches and crucifixes.

However, Halloween is getting bigger. We are copying the Yanks.

Halloween is a festival which was started by the "Celts" of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man (there have never actually been Celtic peoples living in the lands we now call Scotland and Ireland). It was a festival of the dead, recognising death, evil spirits and the spirit world. It was seen as the time when the door to the Otherworld opened and the spirits of the dead, and other beings, entered into our world. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them.

But now, things have changed. The Americans came along and Americanised this ancient religious festival, turning into a huge commercial business completely with tacky merchandising. Over in America, unlike Britain, restaurants and shops and other public buildings are festooned with effigies of witches, Frankenstein monsters, Draculas, ghouls and those annoying pumpking faces with candles in them for weeks, whereas in Britain such things happen just for a few days around Halloween. But now, over the last twenty years or so, the British have started to follow suit and we have imported the tacky and trashy Americanised version of what should be a festival about death, mourning, darkness and remembrance.

It's time to ditch the silly monster costumes and start burning Guy Fawkes on bonfires again.

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot

Edited by Saru
Removed copyrighted images

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