Bonfire Night is just around the corner, an annual event which is celebrated primarily in the UK and takes place on the 5th November. This is a commemoration of the foiled Gunpowder plot of 1605 which was spurred on by long-standing religious conflict between the Protestants & Catholics. Bonfire Night is usually characterised by the burning of Fawkes effigies and elaborate firework displays.
There is some debate as to whether Fawkes was a freedom fighter or terrorist, however it is clear that he represented an oppressed minority who were treated badly and socially relegated because of their beliefs. Interestingly, he has gone on to become an international symbol of British Culture. Reggae was born from a similar climate of socio-political unrest before its rise to worldwide prominence and mainstream acceptance.
The music offers commentary on said matters, whilst teaching the importance of equality and steadfast tenacity. Taking its cue from Biblical teachings from the Old Testament – synonymous with Rastafarian doctrine – many reggae songs use the analogy of fire as a metaphor for protection against injustice and purification; a symbol of anger and passion, desire and destruction. Let’s look at a run-down of some of reggae’s best fiery nuggets: