Bonfire night organised at Essex

By Rita Flores, Borana Kurati, and Shola Osiyemi

Over 4,500 people assembled around the University’s landfills last Thursday evening in a climate of festivity to celebrate Bonfire night.

Even the rain couldn’t stop the annual Fireworks display organised by the University of Essex’s Student Union as families, students, societies, and employees gathered to watch the exhibition of the light.

Food trucks, stalls with games and activities, music, and entertainment were organised by the Student’s Union and the university’s societies to provide a night full of joy for everyone.

‘It’s rare for other places to have such great activities.’

Wristbands to attend the event were free for students, but there were still approximately 700 non-students buying tickets for a small fee to join the university’s commemorations.

Rebel, the student media, was in charge of hosting the event and getting everyone dancing to music from all over the world played by Rebel’s Head of Radio.

Heading north of the stage, queues of people were formed to get burgers, chicken wings, noodles, and pizzas from the food trucks working alongside the Student’s Union.

A number of departments worked together to deliver the fireworks, and the SU pulled together and supported the setup and marshaling on the night and could count on more than 20 volunteers this year.

‘We book the fireworks very early in the year and our project planning starts during the summer,’ said Jeni Day, Student Engagement Manager.

‘It is a big event and I am incredibly proud that we are able to hold such a big, exciting and safe event.’

Just at the entrance, the Women in Stem society’s stall was using paint and glitter to create a make-up look to anyone who wished to shine with the fireworks that night.

And after getting your face painted, you could start to queue up in the gigantic line at the Theatre Arts Society for pancakes.

Among other various diversions, the Ice Skating Club was hosting different quizzes inspired by beer pong with lots of challenging questions.

Credits: Rebel

The evening started off with great anticipation, as people got ready for the display: ‘We’re incredibly excited and quite a bit impatient’.

‘Come to Essex Uni, it’s great here!’

The lights, music and dancing set up the atmosphere as everyone started enjoying their evenings and having a good time.

Friend groups gathered singing along to the music and dancing, while visiting families and children played all evening until showtime.

By 7.30 pm, everyone had gathered around the fields, the Silberrad building and the stage, to start the countdown. 3…2…1… and the magic happened!

Fireworks of all colours, shapes and explosions took over the campus sky and lit up the night.

People stared in awe, taking photos and videos together and making memories.

‘It’s always a fun time… come through!’

But what exactly is “the Bonfire night”?

The celebration of Bonfire night, originated in the 17th Century in England. It began with a group of Catholic conspirators who wanted to blow up the House of Parliament.

In this era, England’s religious tensions were high, between Protestants and Catholics. Many English citizens wanted England to be ruled by a Catholic King and not a Protestant King. One man was Guy Fawkes.

This hatred led to him forming a scheme, known as the “Gunpowder Plot”. Fawkes recruited 13 plotters to assist him in blowing up Parliament.

On the 4th of November 1605, the group of plotters begun filling up 36 barrels of Gunpowder in the under croft of Parliament. The quantity of Gunpowder possessed enough destructive power to blow up all of Parliament.

Unbeknownst to Fawkes, one of his associates had sent a letter to Parliament. The letter made its way to the King, after which a search party was sent for Parliament. This is where they found Fawkes located in the under croft of Parliament with 36 barrels of Gunpowder beside him. Consequently, the king decided to hand Fawke’s and his associates.

In present day November 5th has a become a day of celebration, English citizens celebrate the fact that Fawke’s scheme failed. Therefore, it is a day of thanksgiving. The irony is that people light fireworks as way of celebrating.

Fireworks are explosive, just like gunpowder. It is as if people are mocking Fawke’s failure for not being able to light the gunpowder.

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