The 5th November is traditionally Fireworks Night in the UK. Originating from Guy Fawkes 1605 Gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and replace the Protestant King with a Catholic Head of State.
Living in a Country like Scotland where history surrounds our daily lives one cannot help but be reminded that we have the Culloden Battlefield near us which was the site of the last ever Battle on British soil and that involved Scotland wanting Catholic Bonnie Prince Charlie as their King albeit that Charles Stuart would have reigned as a Protestant.
And as part of every day history in Scotland I recently had time to explore Kinloss Abbey. Founded in 1150 by Cistercian monks it is hard to comprehend not just the size of the Abbey but it’s wealth and influence for over 400 years in this part of Scotland. The Reformation Parliament abolished the Catholic church in 1560 and religious life at the Abbey came to an end.
Nowadays with modern politics revolving around Scottish Independence some things do not appear to change. I often wonder how people will review us in the future.
So now no sooner has Trick and Treat Halloween finished when a week later we have the celebratory Bonfire Night complete with Fireworks. Many a small child would have looked forward to writing their name in the dark with their sparklers and why not? These days we have to replace sparklers with more modern equivalents that do not litter.
5th November Bonfire Night
Even more confusing some say this 5th November celebration replaced the original Pagan ceremonies that we now celebrate as Halloween. It seems to be that traditions change and modify as times go by. As with so many other traditions they become more 21st century and more commercial.
The changing of this ceremony is asking for fireworks to be discontinued and replaced with light shows and new technology. Fireworks can be loud, unusual and frightening for all animals both wild and domestic. And if handled badly can be dangerous to the user so this should perhaps be one more forthcoming change we welcome.
In 2020 as the year of the Covid 19 pandemic with local lockdowns and restrictions there are more changes to be accommodated as social distancing rules will prevent Bonfire Night going ahead.
No matter where or how the Bonfire Night tradition originated it is a great event for all ages and on a clear dry night it is a very unique experience. Sausages and Toffee apples can complete the cold evening standing watching the huge fire that would have been assembled by the Forres residents in Grant Park.
So If the pandemic allows and you are visiting on the 5th November perhaps next year find yourself a good vantage point in Grant Park and enjoy the atmosphere – write your name in the dark with a light for me.
Of poignant importance here in November is Remembrance Sunday where wreaths are laid in remembrance of those in the armed forces that lost their lives at the end of the First World War. Commerated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the war ended in 1918. It is particularly poignant in this house as Major Galloway the original owner of Blervie House died in 1915.
We also have the RAF and Army bases here as part of our integral community and history once again takes us back to Fort George the home of the Highland Regiments and where Major Galloway was stationed. Once again this event is likely to be a casualty of Covid 19 but you will see us wearing our Poppy in remembrance.
Johnstons’ of Elgin November Sale
Another November tradition in this part of Scotland worth bearing in mind is the annual Johnston’s of Elgin Sale. I have no doubt that because of Social Distancing the event will be different this year and most probably digital. However the quality and the bargains will be the same.
Of all the attractions we send our many guests to Johnston’s consistently pleases everyone. We do see some very small shopping bags coming back but they do say the best things come in small packages.
We also see people making return visits and very happy to use our Blervie House Loyalty Card in the store for their additional discount! So if quality Cashmere and Christmas presents are on your mind look out for Johnstons’ November sale.
So traditions come and go in Scotland in November. However the evidence is there to remind us of the past and if we think 2020 is bad I often wonder how people managed in the past when they did not have everything we take for granted now.
In the meantime we have the superb Autumn scenery and some stunning beaches to enjoy when we are out enjoying Moray.
Happy 5th November to you all.