As we stood admiring a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes I thought it would be funny to ask my six-year-old son what Bonfire Night was all about…
I assumed I’d get some random answers to what is a bizarre celebration. Unfortunately, the primary education system has provided my son with a pretty solid understanding of all the events. The only things he wasn’t clear on were the reasons for his explosive attempts and who might have been around at the time.
Firstly, he did understand that Mr. Fawkes was unhappy with ‘the rules’. When I asked him if he could think of any in particular he didn’t know but thought it could be something to do with ‘the speed limit’. I can only assume he has picked up some ‘rage against the machine’ from his mother on this one and we’ll be keeping a close eye on his frustrations when he reaches 17.
Secondly, when I asked him if he knew anyone else who was around when Guy Fawkes was alive – he took a guess, after first making sure I wasn’t there, and picked Grandpa – partly because of age but mostly because he appears to have seen most things.
We ventured to a local fireworks evening this year on a near by farm. In true village fashion we walked across allotments and fields following the smell of smoke and glow of fire. The boys talked us into buying a couple of flashing polystyrene tubes at the gate - one of which broke almost immediately. We were only saved a complete family meltdown by the marshmallows on sale from the same cowboy vendors (School PTA).
By the time the fireworks started I couldn't feel any of my toes and the one flashing polystyrene tube was looking increasingly limp. Fortunately the fireworks rallied everyone's spirits and we were soon heading back across the fields talking about our favourite colour firework. I'd never considered the celebration of Bonfire Night strange until I married an American and tried to explain it to her. But now she's hooked and the boys are too. Thanks for everything Guy... nice one.
For a full transcript of the questions (and answers) see below;
Why do we celebrate Bon Fire Night –
“Because of Guy Faulkes – He failed”
What did he look like?
“Hat, long curly hair and a beard”
How old was Guy Faulkes?
What did he do?
“He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament – they are attached to Big Ben - We’ve been there.”
What year did he try and blow it up?
Why did he try and blow it up?
“He didn’t like the rules of England”
What rules didn’t he like?
“He didn’t like the one where you couldn’t go over the speed limit.”
Can you think over anyone alive at the time?
Do you know what happened to Guy Faulkes after they caught him?
“No” …. Probably for the best.