Brits Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day

October 29, 2004

PLEASE to remember the fifth of November,Gunpowder Treason and Plot.We know no reason why Gunpowder TreasonShould ever be forgot.– AnonymousEVERY child in Great Britain is familiar with this little rhyme and in Costa Rica,the British community hasn’t forgotten “Guy Fawkes Day” either. Each year on theweekend closest to Nov. 5, English citizens and friends gather at “Hotel Club del Mar”in Jacó, a small beach town on the Pacific Coast, a two-hour drive from San José.Those not from the United Kingdom may wonder what the hullabaloo is aboutand who is Guy Fawkes.In 1605, Fawkes and his fellow conspirators – all devout Catholics, plotted tooverthrow the Protestant monarchy in England and planted more than 30 kegs ofgunpowder in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament. The “Gunpowder Plot” toblow up Parliament and King James I during the opening ceremonies on Nov. 5 wasdiscovered and Guy Fawkes and his fellow traitors seized and executed.Since then, the Nov. 5 has been known as “Guy Fawkes Day” or “Bonfire Night”and is celebrated with fireworks and burning bonfires of Guy Fawkes’ effigy. In thedays leading up to the occasion, children traditionally take their homemade “Guys”around their neighborhoods – often in wheelbarrows and ask passers-by for “a pennyfor the Guy.” The money they collect supposedly contributes to their fireworks.The Guy Fawkes weekend at “Hotel Club del Mar,” hosted for many years by ownersPhilip and Marilyn Edwardes, has become a family tradition. British expats turn outin full force, but you’ll also find Australians, Canadians, U.S. citizens and Costa Ricansamong the milieu, plus an occasional New Zealander (Kiwis are rare birds here!).FESTIVITIES start on Friday afternoon and continue until after lunch onSunday. Major events take place Saturday and include dart and horseshoe tournaments,plus the traditional cricket match on the beach, scheduled around the low tide.The highlight of the weekend is the big party Saturday night. A huge bonfire blazeson the beach, Guy Fawkes goes up in flames while everyone enjoys a scrumptiousbarbecue dinner and a breathtaking fireworks display lights up the night sky.Despite the fact that Guy Fawkes didn’t schedule the Gunpowder Plot for themost auspicious season in Costa Rica, rain seldom stops play and spirits are neverdampened. For further info, contact John Wakefield at 282-1149 on evenings andweekends or e-mail: jmwakey@racsa.co.cr.

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