Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason, and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot.

I was looking forward to the fifth of November, a significant date to all British. Every year on this date we celebrate Bonfire Night. Also known as Guy Fawkes Night, it is a tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James 1.

When the gunpowder plot was unsuccessful, Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London where he was tortured. He was sentenced to death, hanged, drawn, and quartered. His body parts were sent to different parts of London for all to see and learn.

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt

We remember this tradition when young and old get together, lighting an enormous bonfire, with an impressive effigy of Guy burning on top. We put aside any disagreements we might have had with family and friends during the year and share the goodwill by setting off spectacular fireworks. Furthermore, it is a great excuse to drink litres of mulled wine and gorge on toffee apples and roasted chestnuts.

“Sometimes something catastrophic can occur in a split second that changes a person’s life forever; Other times one minor incident can lead to another and then another and another, eventually setting off just as a big a change in a body’s life.” – Jeanette Walls

But this year, all professional events are cancelled as on the same day, we enter a second lockdown. Our mood has changed from excitement to gloom as we face tougher restrictions. Despite schools and offices being open, the rest of us are only allowed to leave the house if it is indispensable.

To make it worse, people are flocking to supermarkets to stockpile once more fearing their Christmas will be ruined. I am indifferent. I am staying calm. Thinking back about how first time around everybody’s focus was on toilet rolls, flour, and cans of tomatoes, I have decided to sit through this second wave as comfortable as I can. I will neither bake bread nor stuff my face with cakes and biscuits.

While I have mild concerns about this second wave, I fear the continuation of lockdown into the new year, because some people are not taking it seriously. A month ago, my family and I spent two weeks in isolation to protect others. We boosted each other’s spirit, and our mental health was not affected. Though we have bounced back as healthy as before, I cannot imagine what isolation would do to some poor lonely souls.

 “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

Life has changed drastically in 2020. Our level of distress has risen massively. We have been impacted by fear, loneliness, and anxiety. But what we should remember is that every day, is like any other day. Even though we might still be in the middle of a pandemic, we must reach out and lean in the support we get from others. Our spirits are thus lifted, and we are given the opportunity to move forward while feeling safe and secured.

“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” – William Ellery Channing

So here I am, eyes fixed upwards, watching the colourful explosions in the sky. Covid-19 may have ruined the professional events, but my neighbours have blasted off sparklers, spinners, and rockets from their gardens, much to my delight. What a magical moment full of beauty for all to see! I forget the pandemic and let my heart be filled with hope and belief of a better day.