Today, I have the wonderful Misha Gericke stopping by to tell us all about Guy Fawkes Celebrations in South Africa. She brings with her, her debut novel The Vanished Knight (which is doing very well, by the way) and I’d like to invite you to stop by and read all about it!
I know in the US, it’s all about Halloween and Thanksgiving, rolling straight onto Christmas. But in United Kingdom, we do Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes night).
Other holidays in November in United Kingdom include:
- All Saints’ Day ―Friday, November 1, 2013
- All Souls’ Day ―Saturday, November 2, 2013
- Diwali/Deepavali ―Sunday, November 3, 2013
- Muharram/Islamic New Year ―Tuesday, November 5, 2013
- First Day of Hanukkah ―Thursday, November 28, 2013
- St Andrew’s Day ―Saturday, November 30, 2013
Me? I don’t ‘celebrate’ any of them. I loath bonfire night because it seems such an unreasonable holiday – people get burned or worse, toxins are unleashed into the atmosphere from fireworks, emergency services get stretched, and for what? To celebrate a collection of Catholic revolutionaries? Personally, I wish they’d ban fireworks altogether. Here’s an article in the Telegraph arguing just that. Viva La Revolution and all that, but really? Or am I just an old stick-in-the-mud?
What do you think? What follows is what Misha thinks.
Guy Fawkes Celebrations in South Africa.
By Misha Gericke
Guy Fawkes – Union of Crowns to Union of Parliment – Scotland’
When Shah asked me to write about something for the season, I had a bit of difficulty. See, I’m South African, so we don’t do Thanksgiving, and although Halloween’s sort of gaining traction, it’s not really part of our culture.
And well… while you from the northern hemisphere are hunkering down for winter, I’m testing the waters to go swimming, since it’s summer here.
One thing we sort of have in common with the northern hemisphere, specifically the UK, is Guy Fawkes night. The reason why I say sort of is that about half my country exists because a group of Cape Dutch farmers got tired of British rule and moved thousands of kilometers away from existing colonies in the Cape and Natal to start a country of their own.
Given that these farmers (called Voortrekkers… basically pioneers) hated the British enough to risk their lives and those of their families to move, I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have minded if the King had been blown up. On the contrary. Needless to say, Guy Fawkes Night didn’t make it to South Africa’s interior.
In the Western Cape, though, it was celebrated with abandon for years. Still is, in fact, although the celebration is a lot more subdued. These days, it’s illegal to shoot off fireworks from back-yards and fireworks are only allowed at a few designated spots.
As a result, it feels like Guy Fawkes is fading away in Cape Town as well. I sort of find this sad, since it’s a pretty old tradition to lose. On the other hand, South Africa has been a republic for almost fifty years, so I can also see why Guy Fawkes might lose its relevance.
Do you celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night?
Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land…
When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith’s realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine’s crown prince.
But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.
Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.
She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain.
If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you’d like to see her writer-side (beware, it’s pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog. You can also add The Vanished Knight on Goodreads.
So, will you be building a bonfire and burning an old suit stuffed with sheets? Will you be paying to attend a big bonfire night with fireworks? Do you celebrate the history of the night, or just the fun of it, because it’s traditional and an excuse to light fires and domestic bombs?