Tag Archives: bonfire

HOGMANAY and FLAMING FIREBALLS

As we enter December thoughts turn of course to Christmas and of course New Year celebrations.

Over the years fireworks have increased in popularity of course much to our delight but using fire and fireworks is not a new phenomena as going back to pre-Christian times in some areas of the UK. You may have seen a number of ‘Fireball’ or ‘Fire Festivals’ mentioned in the news and online which follow the ancient pagan ritual of using fire to drive away the old spirits with the flames to enable the spirits of the New Year to prosper.

One such event is the Stonehaven Fireballs festival which has been held for more than 150 years on New Years Eve. Planning starts early in the year as they have a team of swinging ball makers. The balls are essentially metal mesh cages packed with pieces of old cloth, cardboard, newspaper and coal briquettes which once made will be dipped in paraffin to make it stay alight. They use wire to essentially ‘stitch’ the double layer of chicken wire to the Fireball and they add a handle on to enable them to swing the fireball.

The event starts at 11 with music and merriment and on the very stroke of midnight, the first of the bagpipes will start the parade followed by the first of the Fireball swingers. The streets are lined with up to 10,000 visitors all the way along the High Street to the Harbour. Visitors from around the World of course converge on Scotland for the traditional Hogmanay celebrations. They continue to do the circuit for as long as their strength will permit but at around 12.25 the last of the fireballs is launched into the cold water of the Harbour slipway. As the smoke clears, beautiful fireworks will fill the skies over Stonehaven in a show which captivates the essence of celebration of the end of the old year and the welcoming of the new one!

There are lots of pagan ‘Fire’ events up and down the Country and whilst the Stonehaven one is in Aberdeenshire, there is a similar event in East Yorkshire on the coast at Flamborough.

The Flamborough Fire Festival has a ‘Viking Theme’ thanks to its links to the invasion by the Danes of what was South Northumbria (Yorkshire) in 866 AD.

The festival is free once again and includes a parade which starts in the middle of the village and visitors and spectators will watch as a Viking Longship is pulled through the town by Viking Warriors. Everyone follows the torchlit parade to the village green where they will be treated to a stunning firework display courtesy of The Fireworkers of Driffield.

So, if you have a fire event nearby and want to both get into the spirit of the community as well as keeping alive some of the oldest of traditions in Britain, join in.

BONFIRE NIGHT POEMS

At it for weeks we were, gathering stuff to burn
Each of the neighbours’ gardens
Were all approached in turn
Old chairs and tables and branches and stuff
We had to keep it up for weeks till we had enough

All stacked up, against the tree
While we got the stuff that was free
Not built till the last minute with guy on top
In case any animals got in – it was going to be hot!

On the fifth we raced home from school
A journey that took half an hour as a rule
Suddenly our feet like wings, we ran all the way
You don’t get Bonfire Night every day

On getting home, a list appeared
Not as bad as we first had feared
Wash some spuds, grate some cheese
Make sure its tidy if you please

Cook the stew till its piping hot
A couple of dumplings will hit the spot
Warm the chilli, mop the floor
Wait for what the night had in store

Mum arrives in a bit of a spin
Only dad to come and the fun will begin
The car pulls up and out jumps pops
Can’t wait to see what he brought from the shops

A massive box of fireworks in the boot
My brothers began to shout and whoop
My aunt and uncle just arrived
So we all dash back inside

Not long now
The fire to light
This is going to be
A brilliant Bonfire Night

Some fountains first to start the show
Of course we know there’s loads to go
A Catherine wheel pinned to the tree
Dad lights and stands back for all to see

A helicopter is next to light
And lands near mum – gives her a fright
A rocket whizzes up into the air
It explodes in colours beyond compare

Jumpin Jacks, traffic lights and flying imps left us all impressed
But jack in a box and spitfire were by far the best
Reaching orbit with a piercing scream
Bonfire night is just a dream

Wailing, trailing comets with twinkling stars that fall
Flying fish and the greenest of bees
Chrysanthemums and crossettes, we had em all
A brilliant Bonfire Night was had by all.

Bonfire Societies Events

Just when you thought that it was safe to come outside again, two more of the Sussex Bonfire societies showed us how to do it right again on Saturday evening.

As we have featured before, the County of Sussex has a huge commitment to continuing the traditions set out even before Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators attempted to blow up the King and his supporters in Parliament. Going way back in history to 1555, the tradition of holding bonfires was done in recognition of the protestant martyrs killed during the reign of Mary Tudor.

Hawkhurst Gang Bonfire Night

Once again, there were the traditional ttorchlight Processions with Visiting Societies, Marching Bands, Bonfire and Firework Display. This is a small traditional village bonfire society orientated event which is great for those with lots of different concession stands and many are run by the societies themselves in an effort to raise funds:

• 6:15 – Fancy Dress Competition
• 7:00 – Children’s Procession
• 7:30 – Main Procession and Acts of Remembrance
• 8:45 – Grand Procession
• 9:15 – Firework Display

Northiam Bonfire Society

The event will start with a torchlight Procession through the town accompanied by other visiting societies and marching bands. The procession will be followed by a fabulous Bonfire and Firework Display. Once again, this is a small traditional village bonfire society orientated event so it is set up accordingly but once again, the procession may be a little frightening for small children.

• Procession begins at 7:30
• Bonfire lit at 8.30
• Fireworks at 9:00

Food and amusements were available on the playing field which is the site of the Bonfire and the fireworks.
If you did manage to get along, we would love to see your pictures or video as we simply love all things firework related.

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