Ten years ago today, when I was still single, I threw a party for about 20 of my friends in my studio apartment. It was November 5th, 1999. On a shoestring budget, I had an assortment of sausage rolls and poppadoms available for people to eat and plenty of bottles of beer to wash the food down.
Then the big announcement came. I told everyone that they were there to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, a traditional British celebration held every November 5th. I explained how it marked the downfall of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in London.
However, there was a big problem. No one believed me. Not one single person. They all thought I had made it up. And they all thought that “Guy Fawkes” was slang for “Guy F**ks.”
I’ll never forget the night especially because it was the first time that a girl named Debbie, who I had met on an indoor soccer field a few weeks prior, and I dated. She is now my wife and we have three wonderful children.
From growing up in Wales until aged 14, I vividly remembered that Guy Fawkes Night was a big deal. Every November 5th night, the entire town would gather in one field and stand around a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes that sat on top of piles of wood that towered above us as we all stood and ate and drank around it. There were some fireworks too. We celebrated Halloween but it was a much less important and less celebrated holiday where I grew up. Guy Fawkes was it. Seeing a burning effigy of a man made out of straw and paper mache leaves quite a vivid impression on a young child.
Sadly when I moved to the States, my family never celebrated Guy Fawkes again until I had the one-off party in 1999. Again, no one believed me but they still remember that fun party and the crazy story that “I made up.”
Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful Guy Fawkes night. And feel free to post your memories of the day below.