Being English in another country helps you realise a lot of things about your country that you may not previously have thought about before. It certainly makes you think about your identity. One part of identity is about celebrations or communal comings together as a people. One of the things I have realised was that as an Englishman we do not have many times when we come together as English people to celebrate as a community. The Scots have Burns night, the Irish St Patricks Day, although the later has become more of an excuse for a global piss up.
The English Speaking Community of Alsace has three major events in the year. A Burns Supper is one and another is an annual Bonfire Night celebration. The celebration of democracy and the defeat of terrorism, to look at the night in a very current way, that is also appropriate for the place that is the guradian of Europe’s Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law and home to the European Court of Human Rights. I must admit, rather to my shame, that as an Englishman this was my first Bonfire Night in Alsace whereas I have been to the Burns Night three times already.
The first three pictures show the bonfire with the Guy intact at the top, disintegrating in the fire next and the fire at its peak in the third photo. Why is it that fires are so sexy?
One of the nice things about the evening was that it was a family event and there was a wide range of people present with a lot of families. There was soup and baked potatoes available and at one stage there was some concern that the drinks might run out although that didn’t happen before I left. Fortunately the rain also held off until the very end and even then it wasn’t too bad on our twenty minute return cycle trip to the airport, where we caught the train home.
I was also reminded that for quite a long time my consumption of bonfire night was at large local council type events and it was nice to get together with a goup of families in someone’s back garden for a more intimate evening.