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Journals from England, University of Nottingham

2011-11-07 Bonfire Night!

One of the best aspects of studying abroad so far has been the new experiences. There is something exciting about learning a new word, hearing a different perspective or tasting a new dish.  This past weekend presented one such opportunity with the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day! This bit of history I had heard before but never with too much depth. Because it's a celebration we don’t practice back home, I was unsure of what to expect on this 5th of November. Earlier that day my block was buzzing about what we would do to commemorate the night. They explained to me that a typical celebration should include a bonfire and some fireworks. I had never been to a bonfire before, so I was thrilled with the idea. After deliberating we decided to take the bus and tram into the Nottingham Recreation Grounds where a fair, bonfire and fireworks display awaited.

It was cold that night, so we all bundled up and wore our big coats. As we pulled in, the tram echoed with oohs and aahs. The rides flickered bright purple, green and blue lights against a clear black sky. The tall rides moved furiously in different directions, upside down, around and down again. As we got closer we were surrounded by the sweet smell of cotton candy, doughnuts and other varied concession foods. Loud screaming, laughing, music and crowds filled us with excitement as we began to search for the perfect ride we could all go on. While this task may sound easy, you would be surprised how complex finding the right ride can be for multiple people. Everyone has different fears and tolerance levels. We finally split on two rides and I chose the more mellow, high swinging carousel.

When the bonfire started we ran to gather around the massive flame. In the centre of the bonfire they had placed a figure to symbolize the interception of Guy Fawkes's plan. As the fire burned, so did the figure of the man within the flame. The flame was so big you could feel its strong heat against your face, even from a good distance away. The higher it got, the bigger the smoke cloud grew over the crowds. The fireworks followed shortly after. They were the big Fourth of July fireworks that I love, lighting up the sky with fusions of color. They shot them off together, which made for an even more unforgettable scene. In what was my first bonfire experience and of course my first Guy Fawkes Night, I found no disappointment. It was a great night of fair food, good company and beautiful sights I will remember fondly for many years to come.


Crystal Galarza

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