As a Londoner, the 5th of November is one of my favourite dates in the English calendar. It celebrates the day in 1605 on which Guy Fawkes was arrested for plotting to murder King James I.
Guy Fawkes was found guarding explosives which were placed underneath the House of Lords, one of the Houses of Parliament in London. Guy Fawkes was doing this as part of the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, the plan to kill King James I by blowing up the House of Lords.
To celebrate King James’ survival, people in London lit bonfires. Today, we still do that all over England, and some people also create fake people (to represent Guy Fawkes himself) out of old clothes and pillows to burn on the fire. In addition, people light fireworks all over the country.
This day has special significance for me, not only because I come from London but also because on this date I began my relationship with my boyfriend. Being in Germany, it saddens me that I will not see fireworks or bonfires this year. However, I am excited about the opportunity to teach others about this English tradition, and have been offered the chance to create a display about the 5th of November which will be shown in the school where I work.
Though I cannot celebrate the 5th of November – otherwise known as ‘Guy Fawkes Day’ – in Germany, there are many German holidays which I am looking forward to, such as the ‘Tag der DeutschenEinheit’ on the 3rd of October, which celebrates the reunification of Germany, and the ‘Tag der offenen Tür’ on the 17th of January, on which institutions and companies which usually do not allow visitors are open to visitors.
What’s your favourite public holiday which is unique to your country?