Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bonfire Night, not Bonfire Week

Bonfire Night in the UK is on the 5th of November.  Remember?

Despite the rhyme that every schoolchild learns, to Remember, remember, the 5th of November, some people apparently find this very difficult.  Bonfire Night celebrations these days are often on the weekend closest to the 5th of November instead – which doesn't exactly scan so well in the rhyme, but at least ensures people are able to go out to a fireworks display and have a jolly good time all evening without the worry of having to get up early the next morning for work, school, or the invasion.

This year, the 5th of November is a Wednesday – which is about the worst day it can be.  It falls smack-bang in the middle of the so-called 'working week', meaning that the weekend before and the weekend after – and all the days in between – are considered fair game for Bonfire Night parties, community fireworks displays, and general Guy Fawkes-based hijinks.  As a result, Bonfire Night celebrations will drag on for anything up to nine days – terrifying cats, dogs, and gang members of a nervous disposition for miles around for over a week.

Well, bollocks to it, I say.  When I was at primary school, many moons ago, at the school in the village where I live, the then headteacher made it very clear that the school's fireworks display would always fall on November 5th, whatever day of the week that happened to be.  And if we turned up tired, grumpy and tinnitus-ridden at school the next morning as a result, we just had to cope.  Or, if we couldn't cope, not go to the fireworks display.

'Remember, remember, the seventh of November' has too many syllables!

I am more than happy for people to detonate miniature explosions in their back gardens, and set fire to their neighbours' sheds, for one night each year.  It's a tradition which marks a very important event in our nation's history.  However, when this is stretched out over a week, or a fortnight, or a month, it becomes a bloody nuisance.

Hold your Bonfire Night parties on 5th November, people, or don't hold them at all!  And if that date happens to fall on a day which, for whatever reason, is inconvenient for you – well, that's just tough.  If celebrating Bonfire Night means that much to you, make a note to make sure you keep the date free next year.

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