“Remember, remember the Fifth of November,Apparently, it's not just the poet...no one knows a reason to forget this event. Certainly not the British or any of the residents of their commonwealth countries. Even after watching V for Vendetta – maybe because of that movie – it wasn't clear to me that Guy was The First Guy... the Guy who created the word 'guy.' Nor was it clear to me that he attempted to blow up the British Parliament in 1605. And it absolutely never occurred to my historically shallow American sensibilities that the English would still be blowing stuff up over four hundred years later to commemorate the thwarting of the Gun Powder Plot. Yes, as baffling as it seems, the English are still so pissed off at Guy, that they have been burning him in effigy for four centuries. Talk about holding a grudge.
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.”
It's obvious why Kiwi's celebrate this holiday; It's a great excuse to drink a lot and blow shit up. Falling as it does at the beginning of the summer season, it's the ideal opportunity to kick off the holidays and the start of tramping season, vacations, and the pending consumptive Christmas extravaganza... with a bang, as it were. Everyone troops off to the nearest park or stadium at about five in the evening armed with chilly-bins, pavlovas, piss, lollies, sizzlers, and pies, children, chairs and grandparents. Some even haul out a couch. Then everyone nibbles and sips for hours while the bands play, the singers sing, the dancers dance, the kapa haka groups stomp and pound and the teenagers strut their teenage stuff. At dark, the stadium lights are doused and the fireworks begin.
After the fireworks were over, slightly sunburnt, stuffed with food and good company, we trooped over to our friends' house and got quietly soused while the kids played Wii. The entire experience was like a Fourth of July celebration without the jingoism and Sousa marches and the addition of a haka and a rugby team autographing posters in the in-field. Just a word of advice to Americans moving to the antipodes – buy your fireworks in November if you plan on celebrating the “real fourth.” They don't sell them here in the winter.