Letters from the dorm: Festival goes off with a bang

By Elaine Leung, 18, Talbot Heath School England
By Elaine Leung, 18, Talbot Heath School England |

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Guy Fawkes is off for burning.
There are both Chinese and English festivals that centre on a certain person.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, we honour the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan. In England, they burn bonfires and effigies of Guy Fawkes on November 5. This commemorates his failed gunpowder plot against King James I. In 1605, a group of Catholics stored barrels of gunpowder under the parliament building and planned to blow them up.

Fortunately, the king heard about the plot and foiled it, just before the gunpowder was ignited. Guy Fawkes was caught in the act of trying to set the gunpowder alight. He soon became the central character of a festival with bonfires and fireworks. British children make "guys" every year and they are burned on the bonfires.

Our boarding house had its own Bonfire Night. Before nightfall, everyone in the boarding house gathered around to make our own guy.

We collected tights, old newspapers and PE kits to make the effigy. In fact, we had enough material for a dozen guys.

At night, we watched a fireworks display from up close after burning our own Fawkes effigy.

The ceremony ended with us sitting around a fire, savouring sausages and mashed potatoes. Toffee apples are a must for dessert. They are hard to chew, but sinfully tasty. And, of course, we also had plenty of chit-chat and giggles.