11/5/13

"Guy Fawkes' Day"



"GUY FAWKES' Day is not only in some rude sense a festival, and in some rude sense a religious festival; it is also, what is supremely symbolic and important, a winter religious festival. Here the 5th of November, which celebrates a paltry Christian quarrel, has a touch of the splendour of the 25th of December, which celebrates Christianity itself. Dickens and all the jolly English giants who write of the red firelight are grossly misunderstood in this matter. Prigs call them coarse and materialistic because they write about the punch and plum pudding of winter festivals. The prigs do not see that if these writers were really coarse and materialistic they would not write about winter feasts at all. Mere materialists would write about summer and the sun. The whole point of winter pleasure is that it is a defiant pleasure, a pleasure armed and at bay. The whole point is in the fierce contrast between the fire and wine within and the roaring rains outside. And some part of the sacredness of firelight we may allow to fireworks."

~G.K. Chesterton in The Observer.



[Guy Fawkes (1570-1606) was a convert to Catholicism who joined a conspiracy to blow up Parliament to protest the persecution of Catholics. He was caught and executed before the plot could be carried out. November 5 is celebrated with fireworks and the burning of effigies of him.]  
 

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