Bonfire Night - Part 2

Monday, November 14, 2005
I went to a Bonfire Night twice this year - One on the 5th and one over this past weekend. The first one was my very first that I have been to and it was quite an experience! The streets were filled with thousands of people on both nights (kind of scary to be in these little villages filled with so many people). There were small bonfires set throughout the town (to warm the crowds I'd say). The processionals were spectacular displays.


The streets went on and on with torches and drums playing and the costumes the first night were wonderful eerie and dark costumes which just added to the feeling of the event. The processional goes through the streets several times until it leads to the bonfire site where it is set ablaze and it's then followed by a fireworks display (all this happens while you are surrounded by 1000s of people). The fireworks and bonfire are held in large fields. I grew up on the Jersey shore and never had to view fireworks that were not set off over the water before. It was unnerving at best. The first night, we were quite close and at times were pelted by smouldering remains of the fireworks falling from the sky (really really unnerving for me).


The second night, the processional was not as good. It was more child friendly and people wore costumes of things like cowboys, Indians (I know its American - don't ask me why) knights and medieval times type characters. There were far more people at that one and if I had to guess I would have to say a good 100 thousand people were crammed into this village. After the first processional, we went to the only pub that was opened and tried to have a drink (not my idea). The line was down the street and the pub was so packed, it was one person in - one person out! I'll tell you - the British like their drink! I wasn't keen on the crowed crammed into the building so Wayne and I opted out while Dougie went on his own (he'd brave a lot to have a drink I'm sure).


After Doug found us (which was quite a feat), we followed the processional down to the bonfire. This bonfire was a ship that they built in the middle of the field. It was massive and the fire was so big, that it burned our faces when we looked in that direction (from quite a distance away). Despite the sardine like feeling standing in the field and an obnoxious, very large woman that refused to move her torch away from our faces - the fireworks ended up to be amazing (and this time we didn't get any falling on us).


Each night was followed by a visit to a pub that's too crowded and filled with drunks. I can do without that portion of the evening, but I must admit its all part of the experience - and a truly British experience it was.



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