A flair for firecracker fun as locals celebrate Guy Fawkes Day

2011-11-05 00:00

WHILE Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated mainly in the United Kingdom, the occasion that commemorates a failed plot to blow up the British Parliament is also an opportunity for fireworks fun around the world.

A shop in Durban, Sunrise Universal Prayer Goods, have been celebrating Guy Fawkes Day for the past 20 years. Shop owner Ramesh Birjanund (51) told Weekend Witness that they take advantage of the day to create a happy and colourful event.

“To us it’s a time to burn fireworks legally and use it to bring light and smiles to people,” Birjanund said.

He said about 3 000 people gather outside his shop for the event, where “Guys” — effigies of the plotter Guy Fawkes — are burnt.

It takes them two to three days to create Guys out of newspaper, cardboard and old clothes. Children are also encouraged to make their own little Guys.

The plot, discovered on November 5, 1605, was to blow up Parliament in London with gunpowder with the aim of killing the Protestant king and installing a Catholic on the throne.

In South Africa firework stores take this opportunity to boost firework sales after Diwali, the Festival of Light, which is celebrated by Hindus just before.

“We do get quite a lot of customers during Guy Fawkes,” Birjanund told Weekend Witness.

Pietermaritzburg’s “King of Fireworks”, Ayuab Khan, who owns Joes Fireworks store, has Guy Fawkes fireworks specials, which he says are popular.

A spokesperson for the Pietermaritzburg SPCA, Maureen Vida, said loud fireworks scare many animals, resulting in injuries and even death.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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