Remember Remember the Fifth of November……also known as Guy Fawkes night, bonfire night, or fireworks night. Many people may be familiar with the idea behind Guy Fawkes night, or at least the opening line from my post from the movie V for Vendetta. The celebration originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. Guy Fawkes was arrested when caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. The public was allowed to celebrate the king’s survival with bonfires, and then eventually the 5th of November was declared a public day of thanksgiving for the failed plot.
The history and meaning can go much deeper, and I’m not sure why they continue to celebrate such an anti-Catholic event. Especially with fireworks and bonfires in the land of health and safety. To be honest, I’m not really bothered by the significance of the event, I just like the fireworks and giant fire. On to some pictures.
I’m pretty sure this is the most people I’ve seen in Oxford at one event. I hope you can see in the picture above that the crowd really packs in for what seems like standing room only fireworks. There are carnival rides and food in one part of the park, but he majority of the people went close to the eventual bonfire site. It felt funny to stand the entire time and watch fireworks, (which I guess most people do on New Years Eve) because the 4th of July is pretty much always celebrated on a picnic blanket or at least sitting.
Standing far away without a tripod meant that it was really difficult for me to capture the explosions very well. It was pretty hard to hold an extended lens open for that long, especially with a lot of people around and the whisky keeping me warm.
Of course that means I took about 40 pictures, 5 of which look decent. Don’t worry though, I didn’t spend the entire fireworks show enjoying them through my camera lens. I stopped taking pictures about halfway through.
I even tried to catch these kids using their sparklers to write a message to their friends. Well, at least that was what I was hoping would happen. Mostly they just swung them in circles and looked at me funny for holding a long exposure. Maybe next year I’ll get a willing volunteer.
And of course, the burning Catholic man. I thought he looked particularly sinister in this picture, especially because the large pile of pallets just to the left and behind finally started going well. The flames got HUGE eventually, but I was too far away and the light was too bright for my eyes/lens. I just enjoyed the giant display of fire. Thanks for failing Guy Fawkes.