Bonfire Night

I found this story on Jeff Kacirk's "Forgotten English" calendar from November 5th, 2013. The original source was T.F. Thiselton-Dyer's British Popular Customs, Present and Past (1876). It depicts a strange tradition in Marlborough on Guy Fawkes Night:

"At Marlborough, the rustics have the following peculiar custom at their bonfires. They form themselves into a ring of some dozen or more round the bonfire and follow each other round it . . . while a few others, standing at distances outside this moving ring with some sort of sticks, beat those . . . over their shoulders, as they pass round in succession, all shouting and screaming loudly. This might last half an hour . . . till the fire died out".

I know Guy Fawkes Night is quite a bombastic holiday, but where the hell did this tradition come from? "You guys walk around the bonfire, we'll wallop the shit out of you with these sticks, and everyone screams! And that's how we celebrate catching and executing a Catholic who tried to blow up Parliament 400 years ago!"

I mean, if you're the wallopper instead of the wallopped, it's probably great fun.

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One Response to Bonfire Night

  1. leia131 says:

    As I learned from Turn, when they set Abe’s barn on fire, and Georgia, when she first hooked up with Mark Big Gob, no good can come of Bonfire Night.

    Like

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