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Bonfire Night in the UK

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Autumn fireworks celebrations held in November. Also known as Guy Fawkes Night.

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      05.11.2010 10:44
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      Take extra care over your small pets on Firework Night

      Remember, remember the 5th of November. Known to most as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night, this day was originally titled Guy Fawkes Night and is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot way back on the 5th of November 1605. Nowadays this day is marked as an excuse to gather in big crowds to watch things burn and explode.

      There are many safety hazards to be taken into account around this time of year, and although us people might get our kicks from big fireworks displays, it is vitally important to remember to keep your pets safe and secure. This can be a very traumatic time for animals, but with a little consideration you can help to minimise the effects that these festivities will have on your pets and any nearby wildlife.

      As some may know from my previous reviews, I have 2 pet rabbits and a guinea pig, along with two tropical aquariums. The advice that follows here is from my personal experience and will suggest ways to make small pets feel more comfortable. For excellent advice specifically relating to dogs, see broxi3781's review about keeping pets safe during Halloween.

      The first thing to consider is that fireworks displays are not limited to the 5th of November. We attended a firework display last night, and seeing as the 5th falls on a Friday this year I expect there to be plenty more displays going on this evening and then through the weekend. I will not really consider it over until Monday the 8th, when things should have died down again. Also bear in mind that fireworks might be set off any time after it gets dark. With the recent clock change the night is drawing in earlier and it is fully dark outside by 6.00pm. If you won't be home in time to sort things out before dark, then make arrangements before you leave the house in the morning.

      The biggest piece of advice I can give is to bring your pet inside. All of my small pets live within my home as part of our household, and I do not really understand why people would buy small pets like rabbits or guinea pigs and then leave them to live outside. If you are having your own fireworks or bonfire in your garden this is especially important. It may also be worth checking with neighbours to see what their plans are. Rabbits or guinea pigs left outside in a hutch will not only be subjected to the bitterly cold weather, but the loud crashing noises along with bright flashes of light and possibly even flames from bonfires will terrify your animal in no short order. These small pets are essentially prey animals, and have a very sharp instincts that lead them to respond to fear in certain ways. If they get into a state of shock or panic then it is quite possible that this would cause them to have a heart attack and die, this obviously being the worst case scenario. If you are unable or unwilling to bring the pet into your house then consider moving them into a shed, garage, or anywhere that provides some extra shelter, but whatever you do, do not leave them exposed.

      All pets are different and have their own personalities as well as likes and dislikes. However, I must make a sweeping generalisation here and say that regardless of how your pet normally behaves, most small animals will respond to fireworks in the same way: with fear. If you have been able to bring your pet inside (or if they already live inside anyway) then choose a place where they will be happy to spend the night. One of my spare bedrooms houses my pets' cages, and although they usually have free run of the room it is best to keep them confined during this time. What your pet will want to do is hide. You can help your pet to feel protected by taking some simple precautions to make the room comfortable. I make sure that I shut my pets into their individual cages as soon as I get home from work, just before it gets dark. I then fully close the windows and draw the curtains over so that the room is dark inside. Once that is done, I make sure they have plenty of food and fresh water topped up, as this can help to distract them from being caged and will help them to settle down and be calm before it all starts up outside. Small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs live in burrows in the wild, so make sure your pet has some sort of roofed bedding area that they can retreat to. If you don't have this sort of item already, you can improvise by using a small cardboard box with a "doorway" cut into it. I then also cover the sides and back of the cage with a fleece blanket, to make sure that they stay warm and secure and are also hidden from some of the light flashes. These steps are all very simple and require little effort, but they will provide the best possible environment for your pet and although they will still be scared of the noise, you have done the best you could to minimise the effects of the experience.

      You may feel like you want to be with your pet to try and comfort them, but in my opinion it works best to leave pets well alone at this time. Their normal actions and behaviours will be changed by the impact of fireworks, causing them to want to flee and hide. If you try and force your pet to stay with you then they may lash out in their frightened state, as they will feel cornered. The best thing you can do is avoid adding extra stress to your pet, and avoid getting yourself bitten and scratched in the process. It may be difficult for you, but once you've set up their bed areas I would strongly recommend leaving the pet alone for the rest of the night. Your pet will be on a high alert level and even once the fireworks have stopped they are likely to still be on edge. Fussing over your pet when they are still feeling this way can continue to add to the distress. I would leave it several hours after the fireworks have finished before quietly entering the room and giving them a quick check up to see that, yes, they are all right. This is more reassurance for us owners, as the pets usually cope ok even if they have been scared. As long as the precautions have been followed then my pets get along without having any lasting negative effects.

      The following day it would be best to let the pet get some exercise and play during the day, and then I will repeat the shutdown operation before the next lot of fireworks starting that night. Fireworks Night can be a real worry and a nuisance for small pet owners, but by employing a bit of common sense and planning things out in advance you can minimise disruption for your pet and make the whole process a lot easier. The main rules to remember are: keep your pet inside, keep the area dark, provide a bed or somewhere they can hide, and keep them shut in until it's all over.

      Stay safe and have a happy Fireworks Night!

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        16.11.2009 22:18
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        A for effort but needs to get better results

        Without a doubt the strangest tradition I have ever heard of, and there are some impressive contenders for this title, has got to be Guy Fawkes Night. For those of you who don't know what I mean you may have heard of bonfire night (appropriately, all things considered, the name bonfire evolved from bone fire i.e. a fire you burn bones on) which is a reference to what happened to Guy Fawkes.



        A very short history to the night is that Guy decided to try and blow up the houses of parliament with gunpowder hence the incredibly inventive name "The Gunpowder Plot" however when he went to put his plan into action on the 5th of November 1605 he was caught with 60 barrels of gun powder below the houses and was convicted of attempting to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland along with members of the houses of parliament. And was hung drawn and quartered for his crime. All very well and good, but why 404 years on do people still celebrate that someone tried to blow up their entire government for oppressive behaviour? Yes he failed but was it me I'd rather focus on people not rebelling against my country and government.



        Don't get me wrong I'm all for mocking a failed assassination attempt and giving the appropriate punishment for that, but if you're planning on celebrating such a failure then you have got to make it crystal clear that this is what you are doing because to me, as an outsider I only discovered yesterday that the aim of Guy Fawkes Night was to celebrate the victory as opposed to commemorating the tragic death of a hero who had the courage to stand up for the beliefs of a people and was run down by the oppressive tyrant who was the object of the peoples distain and hatred.

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          07.11.2009 22:08
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          The night to remember the foiled plot to blow up Houses of Parliament

          Okay, so technically, it's over again, for another year, but I felt I'd enter my tuppence worth, or thruppence worth, or however the saying goes. Guy Fawkes Night has historical significance, which is often forgotten, and is highlighted and celebrated each year on the 5th November, and is best explained by a popular and well known poem:

          Remember, remember,
          The Fifth of November,
          Gunpowder, treason and plot,
          I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
          Should ever be forgot.

          It stems from the Gunpowder Plot. On 5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes led a small group of people whose intention was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The plot was foiled when he was found in the cellars with the barrels of gunpowder, and he was tried and found guilty of treason. Each year on 5th November, the celebration is shown by putting an effegy of Guy (known as the guy!) on a bonfire, and also by lighting fireworks.

          So, what happens now? Well, instead of getting a night of fireworks, it's extended to at least a week, stretching to include weekends, with people setting fireworks off left, right and centre, at a moment's notice. While I understand that it's hard to always manage to do the fireworks on the intended night, stretching it too far and making it so late often at night, can be a bit annoying. We have had trouble with our son sleeping at night over the past week or so because of fireworks being set off really late, sometimes even close to midnight, and it's really annoying.

          Having said that, I'm a firm believer in the night being one to celebrate, and controlled events are all over the place. Last night, the 6th November, was an organised event near us to celebrate the night. It was arranged for a Friday to accommodate everyone who would be finishing a week at work, and less people needing to rest up so much. It was a nice night, despite getting drenched by the rain, and the fireworks were really nice as well. We met up with friends, and I suppose in a way, it has become a bit of a social event/occasion, and an excuse to meet up with people in a huge gathering, a sort of celebratory event, not quite like Christmas or anything, but an event that everyone can get together for. Under controlled circumstances, it was nice. The fireworks were spectacular, despite only lasting for a few minutes, and we really enjoyed it.

          Please, please spare a thought for those with young children or pets. Events often send out flyers or advertise well in advance to let owners of pets or young children know that it's going to happen. My folks have owned cats since before I was born, and I know the cats go mental, scattering to dark corners, whenever there are fireworks, so it's always nice to be warned. However, this warning doesn't happen when it's a private firework event with a few in your back garden, so just bear this in mind, and perhaps give your closest neighbours a bit of a warning if you're going to do it, as they might be in the above category.

          I like events like this, something to celebrate, and while events in Parliament over recent months may make people think blowing it up may not be such a bad thing, it's a foiled plot that is worth remembering, especially when there are still similar attempts around the world that are even more dangerous, and nothing like this should be taken lightly. It's worth taking a moment to remember exactly why we gather on a night like this, but don't forget to enjoy yourselves as well.

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            07.11.2009 17:04
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            What bonfire night means for me

            So it's Bonfire night again - well strictly speaking it's not actually the big night which has been and gone, but judging from the explosions outside the window the general concensus here seems to be that tonight's the night to celebrate, set off all those BOGOF fireworks that the supermarkets have been flogging for weeks, and no doubt have fun of all sorts.


            Not me...

            Tonight for me is memorable for all the wrong reasons probably, it's a bonfire night like none other before it, here I am stuck on the sofa whilst my youngest offspring slumbers beside me, occasionally waking up with the bangs and the whizzes, and running a rather high temperature. The only liquid refreshment here is Calpol and I have had better Bonfire Nights.

            Still at least I haven't got any pets to be driven mad by the noise, the tropical fish seem unpeturbed and my forced confinement to the sofa is the ideal pause for reflection.

            Here, in concise form hopefully, and without any long history about Guy Fawkes and/or the Gunpowder plot (if you are interested I am sure Wikipedia have done him proud), are a few of my favourite things about Bonfire night through my 40 years on the planet, and what Bonfire night means to me. The years seem to pass quicker and quicker but I still love many aspects of Bonfire Night as heralding in the Winter festivities and being a good excuse to wrap up warm and wear wellies. Call me a traditionalist but for me, it all used to be about the actual Bonfire.

            The big fire used to be the best thing about the 5th of November. Crazy as it now seems in this modern age where apparently organised displays have been reduced to projecting flames on to screens, Bonfires in the seventies were really big, it seemed to tower into the sky when you were a kid, a crazy collection of old chairs, tyres and bits of logs, and all soaked in petrol.

            The scouts used to be mobilised to collect things to burn, and at my local organised event the fire was really really big - a mountain of stuff that emitted lots of sparks and smoke. Health and Safety would definitely not allow it these days, but the fire used to burn with amazing fierceness and the odd "pop" as something that probably shouldn't have been burned exploded. The bonfire used to be as important as, if not more important than the fireworks. It was properly "Bonfire" night. The fire had central stage and many a brown and orange anorak bore the holes from stray sparks to prove it.

            If you were lucky your dad would buy a small display box that contained a couple of unimpressive rockets and a Catherine Wheel. The rockets would invariably fail to ignite and the Catherine Wheel would either whirr unconvincingly for all of 30 seconds or fall off whatever your dad had nailed it to, it was always your dad who was in charge of the fireworks and who dispensed the sparklers, usually from a battered old biscuit tin.

            The sparklers used to be really hard to light, and then beautiful to watch for a few precious seconds before they burned your fingers or went out. Usually the former, those were more dangerous days to be a kid.
            For some reason we used to always have a box of indoor fireworks every year, these were, if anything even more dangerous and less impressive than the ones outside, but the box always promised great things, sizzling serpents and indoor Roman candles that could somehow never live up to the hype or the illustrations. Still, they invariably made for an exciting dinner time or two.

            On the big night itself my dad used to take us for a spin in the Cortina, we'd all pile in the boot (this was well before the days of seatbelts in the back or childseats), and lie down and look for other people's fireworks as he drove around. Magic.

            Fireworks were for Bonfire night, and most definitely not for weddings, New Year's eve or other religious festivals, they were a once a year thing and that made them special when I was a child.

            Sometime in the eighties the big display was born, or at least I became aware of them; our local safari park ensured a more impressive and organised display was possible. No doubt the baboons and lions were scared half witless, but the years we didn't actually go we made do with the view from the upstairs window and the magic was still there.

            I remember too the time when small boys used to actually construct a guy, to be burned and ask for a penny. Even back then they were probably meaning 10p or more, but there did used to be a guy who was burned in homage to Mr Fawkes - I feel this part of Bonfire night has been consigned to "collective memory" as nowadays I think children's money grabbing mainly takes place on Halloween, which as we all know is American and lacking the Britishness of Bonfire night. I haven't seen a guy for many years, so to me they are a memory, but maybe somewhere in Britain small boys are still hawking around a go-cart and asking "penny for the guy". I hope so.

            Other Bonfire nights that weren't.....

            Sometime in the early 1990's I relocated to France and missed at least 5 whole years of Bonfire night. I missed it every year. The French do celebrate le 14 juillet with plenty of fireworks, but somehow it wasn't quite the same in the warm. Bonfire night needs cold as far as I am concerned, and maybe dare I say it, even the threat of rain to add to the frisson.

            The promised "River of Fire" on millenium night next to the Thames was another poor second best to Bonfire night in the Cortina, but since then I have been firmly rooted in this country and every year, bar this one, I have fully taken part in Bonfire night in one way or another, though in November 2003 I had to leave the display as a third trimester baby was finding the noise a good excuse to give me a good kicking.
            Bonfire night has changed through the years, where your local newsagents used to stock a few fireworks, now they are much more widely available and you can buy huge rockets.

            One rather memorable year in the late 90's my then husband-to-be and his friends decided the back garden in the house we were renting was the ideal place to let off a few big rockets - being men they had some sort of strange "who could buy the most dangerour thing" competition. The bits of that night I can remember, ie those I haven't blanked out for reasons of trauma, involved something landing on the conservatory and a rather large rocket exploding spectacularly over a passing overland tube train.

            I can still recall the shocked faces of the commuters and the relief I felt after the "display" that no one had actually blown anything vital up. Thankfully since then my bonfire nights have been a lot less scary and explosive. I think even the men involved realised that they had maybe taken things a little too far. I have included this night in my "nights that weren't" section as this particular night felt more like a cross between a pyromaniac's convention and a Japanese game show, it really was a (display) rocket too far, and proof that those guidelines on fireworks about distance from the house to be set off are there for a reason.

            Bonfire Nights in the new millenium.....

            Actually it's pretty well the old millenium now isn't it - hmmm where did the time go?
            These days fireworks seem to go on for nights and nights and despite my loving them I do end up wishing that Morrisons wouldn't sell them on 2 for 1 for so long . Any yoof with a packet of matches seems compelled to set them off at random times of the night for what seems like months on end.

            When I can avoid Grumpy Old Woman syndrome, I do think that Bonfire night is something special and that, on balance, it's a British tradition that I have enjoyed to the full all my life.
            I do think it is amazing that in this day and age when you can't take a bottle of water on a plane you can go and buy things that go bang pretty easily. It seems madness, and no doubt there will sadly be people injured and pets scared on this night and a few nights to come.

            Hopefully for most people though, Bonfire night is a happy occassion and a good way to mark the passing of the Autumn season, a kind of stepping stone to Christmas.

            I could end with some witty "remember, remember the fifth of november" ditty or somesuch, but overall I hope that for you all, this Bonfire night has been memorable for you in whatever way,in a good way.

            Long may we celebrate Bonfire night say I... the traditions may have changed and Bonfire night may not be the simple affair it once was, but hey, it's a British thing, and for that reason alone I salute it.

            This may not have been my best Bonfire Night ever, in fact bar the ones I wasn't actually in the country it is probably the worst, but I hope I have many more Bonfire Nights to come - I'll be the one standing as close the explosions as I can next year and doing the "ooooohhhhh" "aaaaaahhhhh" thing with gay abandonment when I am even older and wiser than now. I'll never quite get to watch a display in the back of a Cortina ever again though - nevermind - perhaps we should bring back Big Bonfires - could just be the perfect anti-clutter solution we have all been looking for...

            (originally on ciao in my name)

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              05.11.2009 11:23
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              Used to love it but no longer

              Guy Fawkes night used to be one of my favourite nights of the year, but my attitude has changed over the years when we got a very small red setter pup over the last few years I've come to dread this time of year because my dog becomes increasingly distressed.

              now I could probably get over this if fireworks were only released on the fifth but it seems to extend for about a week now and trying to take th edog for his walk after work is nearly impossible as soon as we get a few steps out the back gate then there is a bang and we have to return. We did have a few accidents in the first few years of having woody, but now we've realised that if we get his bed ready and fill it will toys and leave him to sit near us then he's happy.

              So please if your having fireworks please release them on the fifth because we can get through that night but it starts to get annoying if the fireworks spread over the week before and after.

              Thats the dog - what about the night itself? Do we really need to celebrate a failed Catholic uprising which happened 405 years ago? In these days of increasing religious tensions is it sensible to commemrate an event associated with repression, hatred and violence? I don''t think so I wish that the night could be converted into a night celebrating english culture or some kind of festival of autumn rather than be associated with repression and hate.

              So I still enjoy watching the fireworks and having a fire but don't like the reasons for the night and the effect it has on my dog.

              and then there's sparklers, they are so dangerous, I sometimes wonder if at any other time of the year we'd give very young children a glowing rod of phosphorus coated metal?

              So as a tip go to a big municipal display, eat your toffee apples, soup and have a nice time.

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                05.11.2009 07:10
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                why firework night is simply magical to me.

                whoop whoop!! bonfire night is here. November the 5th is without a doubt one of my favourite nights of the year. I just love everything about it. The hundreds of pretty fireworks decorating the sky, the smell of burning in the air or the heavenly taste of hot dogs eaten outdoors whilst watching the displays.
                When I was a little girl, bonfire night was always a big deal in our house. It was a time when all the extended family would gather together. We would watch my dad go up the garden with his torch and lighter and then with baited breath wait for the firework to begin. I have to say the fireworks were not very impressive at all one little pffft of green or orange flame and they were gone. But this didn't matter one jot because we thought they were fantastic. We were swept away with the atmosphere. My mother would then come around handing hot dogs with onions and red sauce to us all. Oh my word nothing has tasted as mouth wateringly delicious since. I can still remember the heat of the hotdog warming my bitterly cold face as I was eating it.
                After the fun was over and we had retreated back into the warmth of the house my nana would produce the home made toffee apples that she had made for all us grandkids. How any of us still had a tooth in our head after these deliciously syrupy treats is beyond me.
                Now im 34 and have a family of my own. Some of my loved ones have gone and yet the tradition of that family get together still goes on. Tonight at my house we are having a Bonfire party. Where family members will gather together. There will be the same rubbishy fireworks but it still doesn't matter because its all about creating memories that will linger on for far longer than any Catherine wheel. Im thrilled to say my nana is 85 now, and will be here tonight. And yes she is still making the toffee apples and they are as delicious now as they were then.
                I just hope that in years to come my children will look back with the same feeling of nostalgia as I do, and realise just how great a childhood they had.

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                  03.11.2009 23:03
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                  Winter celebration

                  I have to be honest I'm not a fan of Guy Fawkes night, actually it is not the night that I object to as I enjoy a good display just like everyone else, it is the fact that for weeks ahead of the event and for days afterwards there is the sound of some yob setting off fireworks in the area that I live in and to be honest I can do without it.

                  Guy Fawkes Night itself is a celebration of the foiling of the Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. To be honest given the recent expenses scandals most of us would probably be rooting for Mt Fawkes if he had another bash at finishing the job.

                  The traditional way to celebrate the event is to burn an effigy of Fawkes on a bonfire and to set of fireworks, most people tend to go and attend an organised event as the fireworks displays arefar more impressive than anything you could muster in your own back garden. We usually go to one at a place called Lamport which is in the countryside but they always have an impressive fire, live music and fairground rides and most importantly a large bar serving alcohol so it is a top night, I'm usually pretty tipsey by the time the fireworks start.

                  I hope everyone has a safe and fun filled night except the idiots who will be seeting them off tonight and every night for the next few weeks, for them I just hope one goes off in their hands.

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                    02.11.2009 14:54
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                    Fireworks are great in the right hands

                    It's that time of year when the smell of autumn leaves fill the air and its dark before you leave the office and when you leave the house.

                    It's also that time of year we remember, remember the 5th of November when we mark they failed plot of Guy Fawkes and his gang in blowing up the houses of parliament in 1605.

                    The day that we all go to public Firework displays or put on our own displays in our garden and have bonfires and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes that children used to make and get penny for back in the day. You don't see penny for the guy as much these days I am not sure why? Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger each year yet penny for the Guy is disappearing or maybe its just where I live?

                    I love bonfire night I love the smell of the bonfires and everyone looking all cosy in their big coats and woolly hats and scarf's. I love the food hotdogs, jacket potatoes and toffee apples and marshmallows!

                    But best of all I love going to Blackheath fireworks display. For starters I love Blackheath it is my favourite place in London and I cannot really say why, but anyway its where we spend our firework night or the weekend preceding/following depending on the day it falls.

                    I love the fact that the fireworks here are breathtaking every year and that over 65,000 people are in one place watching the same fireworks yet still I cannot walk more than a foot without bumping into an old friend. I love that I went here as a child and now my daughter now also goes and is so fond of it has been talking about it since September!

                    The only bit I don't like is 65,000 people trying to leave the heath at one time and the walk home in the peeing down rain last year was horrendous but all part of the fun.

                    I personally would not want to do fireworks in my own garden, although its probably big enough I am not confident they would be safe or that they would be anywhere near as good in comparison to those at the heath. I also do not appreciate the people who feel the need to let them of in the street or in daylight its just dangerous and pointless!

                    I would say that this is one British tradition we need to keep forget Halloween Bonfire Night is my Autumn favourite!

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                    01.11.2009 16:10
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                    Don't you Remember
                    The Fifth of November
                    "Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
                    I let off my gun,
                    And made'em all run.
                    And stole all their Bonfire away.

                    Most of us know that November the 5th is Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, celebrated every year by letting off fireworks, and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes himself on a big bonfire . The reason for this is that Guy Fawkes was involved in a catholic plot to blow up the houses of parliament with the king inside them, which was foiled at the last minute . The protestants were delighted, and the plot served to stir up a lot of anti catholic feeling in the country .

                    I'll be honest and say that usually this time of year is nothing buy a mild annoyance to me - this is perhaps due to the fact that, in Nottingham at least, all the historical elements seem to have been forgotten and it generally erupts into a busload of chavs throwing rockets down an alleyway and burning old sofas in their back gardens, releasing noxious fumes into the air .

                    This year, I have escaped the horrors of another night of chav mayhem on my council estate, and swapped it for a restful break in Sussex - and I've realised that in Sussex, they don't have so much a bonfire night, as a bonfire season , with many towns having their own bonfire societies and events .

                    My first experience of this was on the 24th of October, where the Eastbourne Bonfire Society held its own parade and fireworks display . Starting at Holywell Retreat, costumed men women and children marched down the beach holding alight flaming torches dripping fire, and beating loudly on drums . The costumes were amazingly varied - from pirates to skeletons, even some brilliant Aztec costumes.

                    Crowds oohed and aahed, as they marched by - and grew even more excited when the first of the fireworks was lit . The whole of the seafront was packed, and children clutched flashing noisy toys and cheered .

                    A few days ago, I went to another bonfire, this time in the small village of Cowbeech, organised by the Merrie Harriers Bonfire Society . This was very different, hosted by a large old pub, with fancy dress contests for both children and adults, and free toffee apples and sweets doing the rounds . We enjoyed several beers from the pub itself, before making our way to the field over the road where an immense bonfire was fully lit , and music was booming loudly from the speakers . A few minutes later, accompanied by Michael Jacksons Thriller, the first of the fireworks shot into the air, starting a display that lasted a good 20 minutes with fireworks of all colours, shapes and sizes. Then a barbecue and a hog roast, and then home .

                    Between the second week of October and the third week of November, there will be some 40+ bonfires in Sussex - each celebrated differently . The biggest of these is Lewes, which is the only bonfire in sussex organised ON bonfire night . The reason for this is that Lewes has 5 different bonfire societies, active in five different areas of the city, and they all come together in a night of mayhem, throwing bangers on the floor, rolling flaming barrels down the street, and burning effigies of the pope .

                    Sussex takes bonfire night seriously (this is thought to be due to the burning of 17 local people by Queen Mary giving the people of Lewes and surrounding areas some very anti-catholic views, which led to them taking the foiling of the gunpowder plot as something very worthy of celebrating.)

                    Sussex takes it's bonfires seriously - and so should you . Always be safe - wear gloves in handling sparklers, and wear non flammable clothing . If lighting fireworks, remember never to return to a firework that appears not to have worked, and to have water on hand to douse any flames .

                    Keep pets indoors, as many become scared or over excited , and if you are lighting your own fireworks, be sensible and safe .

                    I'm enjoying the bonfire season so far, and I'm hoping to come down again next year for a longer visit and go to as many bonfires as I can!

                    Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes Night is a great night with some wonderful sights to be seen, but always be safe .

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                      24.10.2009 20:01
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                      Think about the consequences

                      Bonfire night in the UK

                      What is it - In 1605, a group of Catholics (including the famous Guy Fawkes) were alleged to be conspiring to blow up the houses of parliament in London. Every year since then all over Britain, people have celebrated the 5th of Nov by burning bonfires and setting off fireworks. Effigies of Guy Fawkes are traditionally created by children who then wheel them round the streets in barrows etc, asking you to spare a "penny for the guy". Generally, the "pennies" are then used to buy fireworks and treats to eat.

                      Unfortunately, bonfire night is not without its hazards. There are more callouts for the fire brigade than any other night of the year and casualty departments report a big increase in injuries due to people being careless with fireworks. As anyone with pets (specifically cats and dogs though I am sure that other pets are affected too) will tell you, this time of year can be a nightmare.

                      I have a dog who becomes very upset at the loud bangs and lights. Though we can close the curtains, even with the TV on or music playing, the noises are still audible, and as such, upsetting. The night is spent with her cowering and us trying to reassure her. This is very upsetting for all and a horrid reminder of why not everyone loves this time of year.

                      A major annoyance for me is that despite there being much stricter regulations in place concerning the sale of fireworks, kids still seem able to get their hands on them. They begin letting them off almost as soon as they go on sale (which seems to get earlier and earlier each year, comercialism at its worst in my opinion. Retailers want to make as much money as possible and ignore the fact that the earlier these can be obtained, the earlier they are set off) which means that you don't just have to worry about the 5th of Nov but also the run up as well.

                      If you have a pet, please do keep them indoors and do all that you can to reduce their fear of this time of year. This may seem obvious advice but every year there are accidents, pets who go missing etc and by keeping yours indoors and safe, you are simply being responsible. Try to have background noise (not so loud that they become scared of that though!) and try to make them feel comforted and secure. We serve chicken to our dog which although it doesn't take her mind off the situation, can provide a welcome distraction for a while!

                      Also, check bonfires before burning, make sure that there are no pets, birds, hedgehogs etc in there. And of course, keep yourself safe too. Organised displays are likely to be a lot safer than setting off your own fireworks.

                      Finally, parents, please, please ensure that your little darlings are not roaming the streets with fireworks, they seem to hold an irresistible lure to children and are frightening and dangerous. It isn't okay for children or young people to play with fireworks, which is why there are laws preventing them from buying them.

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                        22.10.2009 14:32
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                        Stay safe and have a great time!

                        Bonfire night in the UK

                        In 1605, a group of Catholics (including the famous Guy Fawkes) were alleged to be conspiring to blow up the houses of parliament in London. Since that night, all over Britain, we have celebrated by letting off fireworks and burning bonfires. It is also commonplace to hear the familiar phrase "penny for the guy" which involves children creating an effigy of Guy Fawkes to be burnt on the top of the bonfire. If you can spare it, be generous and give them some cash!

                        I think that people either love of hate bonfire night, you either adore the bright lights and noises of the fireworks or despise them. I personally love them and cannot wait for the 5th of November this year!

                        This is the busiest night of the year for the fire services, and safety has to be paramount. It is recommended that you go to an organised display to reduce the risk of accidents which has to be good advice. If you are planning a home display then be safety conscious. Follow the instructions on the box and if you are unsure, research it first so that you know what you are doing. Wear gloves (not flamable ones though!) and keep a plentiful supply of water nearby. And obviously, be very careful with children. You can also contact your local fire station for advice, they are happy to help to try and reduce the amount of callouts they have to carry out. Prevention is always better than the cure.

                        Remember to keep pets indoors too, as they may be scared of the lights and noises and if you have a bonfire, try to check it before lighting, to make sure that nothing has crawled inside it.

                        Don't forget the food! Have a look online for suggestions of things to make, this could include hot dogs and bonfire toffee - yum!

                        I hope that you all have a fantastic time this bonfire night and enjoy an exciting and incident free night - have fun and stay safe!

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                          24.11.2008 15:05
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                          good excuse for a party

                          On November the 5th every year the uk celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot which took place in 1605,a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, were alleged to be attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, England.
                          We celebrate by lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks,which leaves the outside look eerie.Some children like to build a guy and ask "penny for the guy".

                          Bonfire poem:

                          Remember, remember the fifth of November
                          It's Gunpowder Plot, we never forgot
                          Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your purse
                          A ha'penny or a penny will do you no harm
                          Who's that knocking at the window?
                          Who's that knocking at the door?
                          It's little Mary Ann with a candle in her hand
                          And she's going down the cellar for some coal

                          I love everything about bonfire night but I would think it would be much more safer and cheaper if everyone went to a controlled firework display.
                          The emergency departments are always really busy at that time of year and fireworks that get into the wrong hands are used to scare people and damage property.
                          I would never want to stop this day as its fun for all ages and an excuse to party.
                          You will find at that time of year treacle toffee,toffee apples,parkin cake and black peas will sell in most shops.

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                            08.11.2008 13:29
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                            how can we stop the irresponsible ones ruining it for the rest of us

                            I've always loved bonfire night.

                            As a child we would always have a bonfire party with toasted marshmallows and jacket potatoes. It was so exciting to be outside after dark and the smell of the fire was fantastic.

                            I've taken a lot of that with me into adulthood and still get excited at the smell of a bonfire. I love dressing up in my dufflecoat and going to watch a firework display.

                            I did go through a little teenage rebelious phase where i decided it was morally wrong to celebrate the use of torturous capital punishment, and still do think its a bit of an odd thing to celebrate, but that's a small thing you can easily push to the back of your mind for a sparkler or two!

                            But as I've got older, and read the newspapers more, I've come to think perhaps private sales of fireworks isn't such a good idea.
                            There seem to be so many accidents and not so accidental cases of cruelty and plain stupidity.

                            Growing up in a small Welsh village we didn't really have many problems of this sort, although even as a child i did sometimes wonder if my dad should be handling rockets after quite so many tipples! But on moving to Newcastle for university I was shocked by how many children I saw with fireworks. We had an awful incident where someone put a firework through our elderly neighbours letterbox. Luckily it didn't go off but it could have been awful. And now that I live in Glasgow I've seen some dredful cases on the local news. Not far away from me a cat was found on a bonfire after it had been thrown there with a firework tied to it.

                            Perhaps there should be stricter licensing laws on which shops are allowed to sell fireworks. I know kids would still be able to get their hands on them, but it might be harder for them if corner shops and the like didn't stock them. If they were only available in supermarkets or even Hardware stores staff could ID everyone who bought them and it would be far easier to make sure retailers were doing this.

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                              07.11.2008 18:13
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                              Bonfire Night Should Be On One Night-The 5th November.

                              I have nothing against Bonfire Night as such. It conjures up images in my mind of potatoes roasting in the embers and of happy anorak clad toddlers with shining faces gazing up to heaven on starlit nights. As a child growing up in the 60s November 5th was a special time. My dad would buy a small selection of fireworks and place them in a special tin we kept from year to year. He would mysteriously disappear outside on missions to set Catherine Wheels in place. Then my grannie would set to baking Parkin which would fill the kitchen with the heavy aroma of ginger. Mum would buy treacle toffees and we would wrap up warm with itchy woollen scarves and mittens to join our neighbours for the annual event. I used to cast my mind back to that naughty night in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. It was all rather exciting but it seems strange to me now because no one would dream of celebrating any kind of failed attack of terrorism were it to happen today.

                              In those simple days fireworks were just that -simple. We had Rainbow Fountains which were a myriad of colours in succession and we stood sparklers in hand, eyes gazing at the flames of the bonfire. Our shoes and boots were sinking into the leaf strewn lawn where walnuts lay cast from the trees in late summer and left to rot until occasionally they would be opened by grannie with a nut cracker on Christmas day.

                              To me Bonfire Night was the start of the Christmas preparations, though still more than six weeks away I imagined as a child socks hanging waiting for Father Christmas, the sparkle of the fairy lights and I knew it would soon be time for mum to make the cake full of glistening cherries and raisins and coated in rock hard Royal Icing.

                              The last moment of the evening was always the rocket- the bit I dreaded, a loud bang to cover your ears in anticipation before the sky was a blaze in a cascade of colours and then silence.

                              It's different now-so different; then it was one night and only one night- not every weekend for weeks before and after. It was a special evening but then it was over and people felt safe. Dogs could relax again and apart from the occasional teenager who let off a banger in the street it was a celebration held once a year on the day. Now we are constantly being subjected to the sound of fireworks and not only that the rocket is no longer the climax of the evening it is part of the display-everything is on a bigger scale.

                              One of the reasons why there are so many injuries is because of the long drawn out season and because fireworks themselves are bigger and more dangerous. Ones only released at organised displays in the hands of experts are now on many shopping lists.

                              Bonfires are often built in advance and this breaks my heart because so many hedgehogs are literally cremated this way as they have crawled into these large cosy homes for hibernation.

                              Many dogs are terrified by the experience and have to be treated by their vets or sedated in advance when the fireworks scare them. Incidentally my daughter who is a vet student tells me they sell some great products now for dogs and cats which really help keep them calm by releasing smells which mimic the natural pheromone produced by lactating females in a spray or plug diffuser form. So if your pet is really upset by the fireworks it is a good thing to try.

                              I have nothing against fireworks themselves just the way the event has changed. If you are ever lucky enough to go to Edinburgh to witness the displays there you will see some of the finest and most spectacular shows celebrating events through the year. I was able to see the event from a hotel room there recently and it was out of this world. The main event there is in early September and is held to celebrate the end of the Arts Festival and it is performed accompanied by live open air music. With the backdrop of the castle this is stunning. These organised events are fine because they are expertly run but menacing with fireworks at home can be deadly

                              Did you know that 70% of all injuries from fireworks are to preschool children and that eye injuries are amongst the most common? The other thing to note is that of the types of fireworks bangers and rockets account for over half of all firework accidents.

                              I am not saying lets abandon firework night but I think it may be time to scale it all down and go back to the days of simplicity. Small children love simple things and are often happier with the food treats than the noise of elaborate fireworks. Let's also go back to celebrating the day and the day only and prevent the month long noise pollution these fireworks produce. Let's leave hedgehogs and other wildlife in peace.

                              Now published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.

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                                07.11.2008 15:12
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                                Love fireworks but should be in a safe, controlled environment

                                I absolutely love bonfire night. I love the smell, the noise and the sights.

                                What I do not like is the danger. I have seen so many children setting off fireworks in our local park and I wonder how on earth they get hold of them?! Well either the shops are selling them or people are buying them for the kids which I think is apalling!

                                Fireworks are so dangerous that I think they should only be allowed at special events by people who have the correct licences to do this. I don't think they should be on sale in shops full stop. And as for sparklers - yes they look nice and small children like them but why do parents think it is ok for children as young as 2 years old to be holding a stick with fire that could so easily burn them!

                                Something else I have noticed this year is that there were no main bonfire night events on the 5th November in my area! Yes I know it was mid week and that children had to get up for school the next day but it is dark by about 5pm now. Surely the fireworks and bonfire could be from 5pm til 7pm? I found one at a local pub but the fireworks were not starting until 8.15pm! Which is far too late for the kids.

                                Also I think there should be a law that says after 9pm midweek there should be no fireworks. Some of those fireworks are very loud and where I live there were fireworks going off after 10pm. I'm lucky that my children did not wake up but i'm sure a lot of other children did.

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