The 5th of November. It means nothing to most of the world, yet is the most significant secular holiday in the UK. It is when we celebrate someone attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. No one is ever sure if we are celebrating the attempt or it's failure. That seems to vary from year to year, depending on how popular our politicians are. Most of us tend to root for the destruction in most years.
You guys can keep your Independence Day or Presidents Day. Only a truly hardcore nation celebrates an attempt to introduce large amounts of gunpowder to the political process as the most emphatic no vote of all time. It is the one day of the year when the fabled stiff upper lip curls into something vaguely resembling a smile. Fireworks, illegal in about 45 states, are launched. Bonfires, carefully built over the preceding month, are doused in accelerant and lighted. The traditional Guy is immolated, as is the hair and eyebrows of the person lighting the fire. The 3 B's make their annual appearance: Baked potato, Butter, and Beer.
Children run and play and may some times need to be extinguished. They tend to be careless. Just brush off the burnt bits and let them keep playing.
It is a fun time.
What, we English have fun? Don't believe all Hollywood may tell you. While our accents and historical actions make for excellent villains, no one parties like the English, not even the Irish, while the Scots are a distant third. We are a reserved folk. That is true. Queue quietly in an orderly fashion, discuss the weather in low tones and the national slogan is "Mustn't grumble." Except for this one night of the year, when we all relax and have a good time.
It is a strange holiday, to those not versed in our ways. You visit, you will be accepted in, have a wonderful time, enjoy yourself immensely, yet still be mildly puzzled as to why it is so popular. It is our time. A reminder from us, the people, to those in power. They serve us. Not the other way around. They better not forget that.
The bonfire is ready. Coming?