Friday, December 7, 2012

A Scottish Holiday

Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated on November 5th every year in the UK, and I was able to be a part of the festivities on Glasgow Green this year, though the holiday has a rather bizarre origin. Guy Fawkes was a member of the Gunpowder plot of 1605. The members unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and VI of Scotland. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords. Fawkes was arrested while guarding the explosives and later sentenced to death. The King's escape from assassination is the cause for celebration and it was initially carried out with bonfires. I hear there was some effigy burning as well, but I was happy enough with the incredible fireworks display that we saw. :)

My friend from Ireland and I were among the crowd of 60,000 people at Glasgow Green (about a 10 minute walk from my hall) that night. I was excited for my friend because it was the first fireworks show she had ever been to. We got there a little early and had fish 'n' chips from one of the vendors there. The portions were ridiculously enormous. We weren't sure where we were supposed to go to get the best spot to see the fireworks, so we wandered around a bit (it's a huge park), then perched ourselves atop the hill as more and more people flowed in from all around. I had never been so cold before watching a fireworks display, nor had I ever watched fireworks orchestrated to pop music... if anything I was expecting traditional Scottish music, but the show was well done.

The show lasted about 15 minutes. After it ended, my friend and I began to chat about it, then I suddenly grabbed her arm and said, "We have to go." The crowd of people were coming towards us like a raging river rapid and I was almost fearing for my life. We turned around and slowly shuffled our way down the cold, muddy hill, down to the footpath, and eventually out to the street. My feet were so cold, that it wasn't until I was done running up the ten or so flights of stairs to my flat that they started to warm up.

When I got to my room, I looked out my window and saw fireworks all across the city skyline. What a sight it was to see the celebrations across the city from my window! I decided that the Scottish celebrate Guy Fawkes night in a bigger way than the Americans celebrate the 4th of July (even though they don't get the day off for it...) Red Bank, you've got nothing on Glasgow's fireworks!

Stay tuned for Stirling!

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