Every first week in November, all over Great Britain fireworks are lit up for “Bonfire Night” to commemorate the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A group of English Catholics around Guy Fawkes had conspired to kill King James I and to blow up Parliament. Guy Fawkes who was hiding underneath the House of Lords with barrels of gunpowder was found and arrested on 5 November 1605. Since then, 5 November is celebrated as Guy Fawkes Night.
As far as I am aware, this is the only country that annually celebrates the failure of an assassination attempt on its head of state. (Until 1859, it was a public holiday.) Together with the irony of commemorating a failed attempt to blow up Parliament by setting off fireworks, this leads me to believe that it’s just a welcome excuse to have one more display of fireworks before New Year’s Eve.
Be that as it may, I dearly love fireworks and can’t get enough of them. So for me, Guy Fawkes Night is the perfect night to go out and enjoy the spectacular. Living in London, this is a tough choice because there are dozens of fireworks. Coincidentally, almost all of them take place in the evening, so I cannot attend more than one. I decided to give the one at Blackheath a try, and I was not disappointed at all.
It was a great performance:
- Set on the wide open space of Blackheath, with All Saint’s Church as a beautiful backdrop.
- 25 minutes of a non-stop impressive display.
- Not just the standard rockets shot into the air, but fireworks coming from above and fired in a way that they seem to come directly towards you.
- Wonderfully choreographed.
- For the militaristically minded like myself, some parts were reminiscent of anti-aircraft artillery.
- No idea how this was done, but there were fireworks that looked like wide cascades of falling water.
- Stalagmites of light and fire that would have made Leni Riefenstahl exuberant.
- Continuous power and force, without any intermission.
- At times, they sky was so illuminated from the explosions that it was as light as daytime.
- Rays of fire and light buzzing around in all directions.
But why am I trying to explain it. Technology – escaping the realms of my comprehension – has advanced so far that by the time I got home, admittedly via a detour to the pub, from the fireworks, some people had already uploaded videos of it on the internet. When watching these, remember that the whole fireworks went on at full throttle for 25 minutes.
Have you ever seen a fireworks display that swept you away? Where and when? Let us know and share your experience or recommendations!