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The Bamboo blowing tradition and Guy Fawkes

The Bamboo blowing tradition and Guy Fawkes


Fri, Oct 28. 2011

Contributed by the Adult and Continuing Education Division.


Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of 5 November, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was caught guarding explosives placed beneath the House of Lords and arrested.{{more}} Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.

The Tradition in St. Vincent

Due to the fact that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was once colonised by the British, a number of the British traditions were practised and still continue in the multi-island state, even though the country became an independent state in 1979. Some traditions which continue up to today are Tea drinking and Tea parties, Bamboo blowing and bonfires as part of the Guy Fawkes celebration, The English language, furniture making and designs, Christmas and Easter holiday celebrations, religious denominations (Anglican, Catholic and Salvation Army), along with the parliamentary system which recognises the Queen as the crown and symbolic head of state.

Bamboo Blowing

Bamboo blowing is a technique used by mainly young males in November to represent the cannon, a powerful gun, which used an iron ball and gun powder. Some of these guns could be seen at the Fort Charlotte and other places in St. Vincent. The fun of blowing the bamboo comes from the competition of who could have their bamboo making the loudest sound/shot. Other things used to celebrate the Guy Fawkes day include star lights and fire works.

Bamboo blowing – do’s

  • Parental supervision is necessary for children under 10 years of age
  • Use only kerosene in the bamboo
  • Keep your bamboo blowing away from flammable materials
  • Let your neighbours know that you will be blowing your bamboo, and for how long
  • Seek permission from your parents /guardian before blowing your bamboo
  • Break/cut open the bamboo after use (immediately or the next day)
  • Show respect for other people’s space

Bamboo blowing- dont’s

  • Do not cut your bamboo longer than four joints
  • Do not blow your bamboo in the street or pointed to vehicles
  • Do not put gasoline in the bamboo
  • Do not blow into the hole of the bamboo if there are flames around it
  • Do not block the end of the bamboo with objects or hand
  • Do not discard the used bamboo in the drains
  • Do not walk around blowing the hot bamboo
  • Do not play games with the fire from the flambeau

Parental Support

Bamboo blowing is a tradition which assists with the socialisation, skill development, co operation, dialogue, tolerance level, discipline, physical exercise, and more, for the youth who participate in this activity. You may not like some aspects of it, but children will be children and boys will be boys, so you should be a parent or adult who, instead of always knocking them, be there with them sometimes. Your presence may just make things a lot better.

Have an enjoyable Guy Fawkes Day/night on Monday November 5th.