As I sit here writing, the night is already full of fizzes, pops bangs as people make an early start on bonfire night. This week in Newholme, Walton and Cavendish hospitals in Derbyshire, we talked about the sights, tastes, smells and sounds of bonfire night, from fried onions and hot dogs, jacket potatoes cooked in the fire to the shooting rockets and colourful sparklers held by delighted children.
We also talked about the gruesome history of bonfire night, which is mostly celebrated in Great Britain, to commemorate the unsuccessful plot in November 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I. A group of Catholic conspirators were responsible for the plot, but they were all caught and came to a grisly end, with their heads on spikes outside the House of Lords. Guido (or Guy) Fawkes, was the plotters’ explosives expert, and he was discovered, along with barrels full of gunpowder, under the Houses of Parliament.
Ever since then, Britons have commemorated 5th November with their own fireworks, bonfires and celebrations. Nowadays, mostly, the anti-Catholic element has been forgotten, but people still enjoy lighting up the night sky with a pretty explosion.
People from Chesterfield remembered the (slightly rude) rhyme:
“Bonfire night, stars are bright
All the little angels dressed in white.
One with a fiddle, One with a drum
And one with a pancake stuck to his bum!”
We commemorated Bonfire Night by writing our own poems, which I hope you’ll enjoy!
Bonfire Night Haiku
Whizz, band, crack, whistle
Pretty sparkles in the sky
Gunpowder smoke smell
Hot dog smells
What’s that I can smell?
Sizzling caramelised onions
Frying in a pan.
Brown, green and crunch
Sticky, yummy, delicious
Pappy toffee apple
Orange, yellow, red
Crackling, popping heat
(Right down to their feet!)
Burning bonfires, crackling away
On the fifth November, today’s the day
November nights cold and damp
Fireworks light the sky like a lamp
I see the children scream with delight
Rays of colour light up the night
Evening starts before tea time
Sweet treats and toffees taste sublime
Flashes of colour brighten the sky
I cheer and “ahh” as the colours flash by
Roman Candles and Jumping Jacks
Everyone dressed up warm, wearing macks
We crowd around the fire, keeping warm
Oh no! I hope there won’t be a storm!
Relatives gather to enjoy the fun
Kids make enough noise for everyone
Sizzle, bang, crash, screech – all night long!
Bang! The sound of Bonfire Night
All jump! The noise gives us a fright
Noisy night enjoyed by all
Guy Fawkes burns and starts to fall
Everyone’s ears ring with the sound
Roasted chestnuts – a bag for a pound!
Guy Fawkes (a potted history of Bonfire Night)
Gunpowder expert, put his barrels
Under the Houses of Parliament
Young men, angry with King James
For not giving Catholics rights
And they wanted to blow James up
Why didn’t the plot work?
King James was informed
Everyone was caught
Staked heads all round!
Roman Candles sprinkling
Ooooh! Pretty colours…
Crackle in the night sky
Kindling to light the bonfire
Ey up! be careful!
Terrific bangs everywhere
Toffee apples and treats
Eating cinder toffee
Candy floss on sticks
Lollies made from bonfire toffee
Embers with jacket potatoes cooking.