Bonfire Night celebrations

Da bambina, Bonfire Night, la notte dei falò, era una delle feste che aspettavo con maggiore trepidazione.

I preparativi iniziavano con almeno tre settimane di anticipo: mio padre e i miei zii si mettevano ad allestire il falò nel giardino di casa di mia nonna e io e i miei cugini cominciavamo a raccogliere vecchi indumenti per creare il nostro fantoccio di Guy Fawkes. Una volta costruito il fantoccio, lo imbottivamo con carta di giornale e vecchi calzini e andavamo a comprare una maschera da mettergli come faccia. A quel punto, eravamo pronti per iniziare la nostra raccolta donazioni per Bonfire Night e, tempo permettendo,  il pomeriggio dopo scuola ci piazzavamo lungo la via con il nostro Guy e non c’era passante al quale non chiedessimo un’offerta, recitando “Please, can you spare a penny for the guy?”. Riuscivamo sempre a racimolare un bel gruzzoletto, con cui poi, il giorno prima della festa, con i nostri genitori andavamo a comprare i fuochi d’artificio.

La sera del 5 novembre, ci ritrovavamo tutti, amici e parenti, a casa di mia nonna. Gli adulti accendevano il falò e cuocevano la carne alla brace e noi bambini, tra una mela caramellata e l’altra, attendevamo impazienti la fine della cena per andare finalmente in giardino a bruciare il nostro povero fantoccio sul rogo e sparare i fuochi d’artificio. Anche se, a dire la verità, io, che ho sempre avuto una gran paura degli spari, ad andare in giardino durante i fuochi non ci pensavo affatto e rimanevo a godermi lo spettacolo da dietro la finestra della cucina!

Ma cerchiamo di capire qualcosa di più sulla storia di questa festa, ricollegandoci anche al video che abbiamo appena visto.

In 1605 Guy Fawkes and his accomplices wanted to kill King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic monarch. They planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament and the Protestant king with gunpowder. This is why their plan was called the Gunpowder Plot. However, their plot failed and Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators were arrested, tortured and executed for treason.
To remember what happened, Bonfire Night parties with torchlit processions, large bonfires and fireworks are organised in towns and cities all around Britain.
Children love making ragdoll guys, dummies made with old clothes and scarves that resemble Guy Fawkes. On the days leading up to Bonfire Night, which is also called Guy Fawkes Night, they take their guys in the streets and ask passers-by for “A penny for the guy.” They use the money they collect to buy rockets, sparklers, but also sweets and other treats.
On Bonfire Night people invite friends to their houses for dinner, eat delicious food, including toffee apples, and then go altogether to watch firework displays and burn their guys on bonfires.
There is a traditional rhyme that is recited when the effigies of Guy Fawkes are burnt:

“Remember, remember the 5th of November
gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot!”

Se vi occorre, ecco qui la trascrizione del video:

“Rosie:    Hi. I’m Rosie. I live in Milton Keynes. On the fifth of November we celebrate Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sam:      What are you doing?
Rosie:    I’m doing a history project on Bonfire Night. Do you know the story?
Sam:      Yes. That’s Guy Fawkes. He wanted to kill the King.
Rosie:    Yes, that’s right. In 1605 he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder.
Sam:      Did the King die?
Rosie:    No, he didn’t. And every year on the 5th of November we light a bonfire to remember what happened.
Sam:      Is that why they make a guy and put it on a bonfire?
Rosie:    Yes, that’s right. And we have fireworks too.
Sam:      I love fireworks. I’m making firework safety posters for my homework. Come and look!
Rosie:    They’re good posters, Sam. That’s a great rocket!

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Dad:      What are you two doing?
Rosie:   We are making a guy for Bonfire Night.
Sam:      Dad, have you got an old scarf?
Dad:      Yes, I think so. Hang on.

Rosie:   Look at his face!
Sam:      He’s great!
Dad:      Here’s an old scarf.
Sam:      Thanks dad.
Dad:      Ah, ah! Well done, he looks great.

Penny for the guy, penny for the guy!

Rosie:   My dad and I are going to the shop.
Rosie:   Can I have some sparklers for Bonfire Night?
Dad:      Yes, but you can’t buy them.
Rosie:   I know, children can’t buy fireworks.
Dad:      Can I have some sparklers, please?
Shop assistant: That’s £1, please.
Dad:      Here we are. Thank you.
Shop assistant: Thank you.
Dad:      OK, Rosie, let’s go.

Rosie:    It’s Bonfire Night. Our friends come to our house. We have lots of delicious food before we go to a firework display.
Rosie:   Are we going to eat in the garden, mum?
Mum:   Yes, we are. We’re going to light the sparklers, too.
Dad:      And then we’re going to go to a firework display.
Sam:      With a big bonfire?
Mum:   Yes.
Sam:      Dad, what are those?
Dad:      They’re toffee apples. Watch out! They’re hot!
Mum:   They are here!

Rosie:   Mmm. I love hotdogs!
Rosie:   Sparklers are great fun.
Dad:      Be careful! They’re dangerous!
Mum:   Come on, everyone. It’s nearly time to go and see the fireworks!

Rosie:   We go to see a big firework display near our house.
Rosie:   Hurry up! We don’t want to miss the fireworks!
Sam:      Have you got the guy?
Dad:      Yes, I have. Come on everybody.

Rosie:   At the fireworks display people burn guys on the bonfire and there are lots of beautiful fireworks.”

Il video ci dà l’occasione anche per rivedere insieme alcuni tempi verbali inglesi:

– On the fifth of November we celebrate Bonfire Night – Present-Simple_scheda
– I am doing a history project on Bonfire Night – Present_Continuous_scheda
– Guy Fawkes wanted to kill the King – Past_Simple_scheda

E adesso, che ne dite di mangiarci una bella toffee apple! La ricetta la trovate qui, S


Sally Anne Webb

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