Posted by: monsonmadness | November 5, 2011

Bonfire on the beach

Remember, remember, the 5th of November

Gunpowder, treason, and plot.

This is the rhyme that my kids were chanting around the bonfire tonight at the beach. I have celebrated this tradition my whole life, and we have been celebrating Guy Fawkes night ever since I moved to America, although we always do it a little bit differently depending on where we are. I remember meeting up with fellow Brits in Provo to celebrate…inviting other friends to join with us at our home, and even going to a British association event one year in Salt Lake.

For those non-Brits out there, Guy Fawkes, or Bonfire night is a celebration every November 5th. This tradition originates from the gunpowder plot of 1605, where there was a failed conspiracy to assassinate King James I. Guy Fawkes was caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and later the 5th November became an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.

When I was a kid, we used to make our own guys/effigies, and takes it door to door asking “penny for the guy”. The guy would later be thrown on the bonfire. I have memories of going to a bonfire party with my Dad’s work friends once when I was young, and they made the guy to look like me. Then they threw it on the fire!!!!!!

Happier memories include many years putting on my coat, gloves, scarf and earmuffs and trudging one mile up the hill in Buckley to go watch the fireworks. I also remember many ward gatherings in the back garden at the Worthington’s. We used to eat baked potatoes, cook sausages on the fire, and eat treacle toffee. Wherever you meet, there is a bonfire, good food, and lots of fireworks.

This is the first year that we haven’t had fireworks. I normally get an extra stash after the 4th July and save them, but in American Samoa, fireworks are illegal and there are none to be found. The kids were pretty disappointed until I told them we could build a bonfire on the beach. This was a first for us! No wrapping up in warm clothes, just a 5 minutes drive down to the beach, a gorgeous view of the crashing waves, and a bonfire.

We ate chili and baked potatoes before we left the house as is our tradition. I wanted to make caramel apples which we normally do as well, but do you think I could find caramel on the island? Nope! So, what’s the other treat that goes really well with fires? S’mores of course! Now a translation for you Brits…s’mores are toasted marshmallows put in between graham crackers (like digestive biscuits) with chocolate. It all melts together and is delicious! Took me a few stores before I was able to find graham crackers, but I finally tracked some down and it was well worth the effort.

Here we are enjoying our bonfire on the beach. Hope you enjoyed the celebration too 🙂



  1. what a fun tradition! Gorgeous night.

  2. The kids will definitely remember this Guy Fawkes day — a bonfire on the beach. Did you burn anything in the fire (besides marshmellows)?

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