Thursday 19 November 2015

Fireworks in Victoria Park

As I mentioned in my last Wanderings post, I love fireworks night, and really enjoyed going to watch them when I was small. My memories of this are from the town Scout Hut, trying to get close to the front to see a Catherine wheel get going - definitely my favourite firework! I loved swishing around a sparkler, attempting to write my whole name before the beginning part vanished, actually fairly easy for me with my short name! Having my Mum bang on about not holding a sparkler without gloves on, and having to watch out for them on the floor. There was a definite heightening of the amount of damage a finished sparkler could do!

The last firework display I went to at Victoria Park, the year before I left for China was epic. It was all set to music, and ended with a fantastic fire-picture (not sure how else to describe it) of Big Ben and a skeleton Guy Fawkes setting fire to the Big Ben. The clock turned into a Catherine wheel and then Big Ben took off like a rocket (to the Bowie song Space Oddity). You can see some photos here:


This year was also a great display. Unfortunately for me it didn't surpass that show in 2007, but I was really glad to be there and watching the fireworks! Since we don't get to see Catherine wheels much anymore, my new favourite has to be the one I like to think of a popcorn rockets, they explode all colourful in the sky and then the bits that come out also explode (like popcorn in the microwave!). There were plenty of them, and lots more! The only other disappointment was the oversight of using Katy Perry's 'Firework' as one of the background songs... surely that's a given for Bonfire Displays?!

Well Done Tower Hamlets Council, I can't wait for next year and I hope it's just as good (or even better) than this year!

For anyone who isn't familiar with Firework's Night (or Bonfire Night as it's also called). This happens every year on the 5th of November. It comes from a foiled plot by about 10 Catholics who wanted to kill the Protestant King. They planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament whist the King was visiting. Somehow the authorities found out (betrayal/whistleblower?) and Guy Fawkes, one of the 10, was caught red handed underneath Parliament in a room full of gunpowder. He was tried, found guilty and killed. The following year, the King decreed that everyone in the land light bonfires to celebrate the discovery of this plot and the preservation of his life.

We have continued this tradition every year since. I don't know exactly when fireworks were added, but it's in the last 10 years that we've started to move away from having actual bonfires and just stick with fireworks now (probably health and safety of having thousands of people near a massive fire!) 

Guy Fawkes has gone down in history, probably better remembered than the King (James I - which I just had to check) There's no doubt that in British minds he was bad - although after explaining this story to some of my student recently one asked whether he is a hero. 

Here's a little rhyme that we learnt as children so as never to forget Bonfire Night!

Remember, remember the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason, 
why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!

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