Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Why should you remember the fifth of November? It was Guy Fawkes Night here in England this past week and it has been full of fireworks, bonfires, and celebrations. What is being celebrated is quite interesting indeed. This holiday dates to way back in the history of Great Britain…all the way back to 1605. The king at the time was King James I of England, who happened to be a Protestant. Religious tension drove a small group of Catholics to devise a plan to assassinate the king and replace him with a more Catholic-friendly leader. Becoming known as the Gunpowder Plot, this group took explosives underneath the House of Lords; however, their plot was foiled. Fawkes was appointed to guard the explosives, and when the authorities were tipped off of the plan he was the first to be discovered. Months later he and the other traitors were executed and quartered. Quite disturbingly, this means they were divided into four segments and each segment was sent to a different corner of the kingdom.
Townsfolk were elated that night when the plot had been thwarted and asked the authorities if they could hold bonfires to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ capture. Permission was granted and ever since then the fifth of November has been filled with bonfires and variations of celebrations.
The 2014 celebrations in Norwich lasted all throughout the week. I think I have heard fireworks every single night since last Sunday! I attended a bonfire night and it had a great little fall festival feeling to it. It was held at a soccer field and had the key attractions of fireworks and the bonfire, but there were also stands for selling sweets, ice cream, hot food, and playing carnival games.
Keeping with a similar theme of previous blog posts… I have some (hopefully new) vocabulary for all of you! It is always a great feeling coming across these oddities in speech difference.
Bishy barnabee: the old, regional word for ladybird, or what is known in the US as a ladybug.
jumper: the equivalent to sweater.
maths: simply the word math but it is said with an ‘s’ on the end. It sounds so wrong to hear the phrase “Oh, I’m just going to work on my maths homework.”
jacket potato: a baked potato. I was under the impression for a few weeks that this term was ‘jacketed potato’…oops.
boot: the trunk of your car. “You can just throw your bag into the boot.”
coriander: the herb cilantro. With discussion of this, the pronunciation of the word herbs is also brought up. The British pronounce the ‘h’ and are very keen to let me know this when I pronounce it ‘errbs’.
plaster: a Band-Aid or bandage.
fringe: the hair cut shorter at the front or around sides of your face, known in the US as bangs.
Thanks for reading and I hope I enlightened you a little to my current world of studying abroad in Norwich, England.