Saturday, November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day


Explaining why the British celebrate on November 5th--a great time of year for fireworks because it is dark by 5 pm!!.

Guy Fawkes Day aka Bonfire Night - November 5th

Remember, remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason that gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

The smell of gunpowder smoke and the snap and crackle of bonfires will fill the capital in the run up to Bonfire Night. Thousands of revellers will line London's parks to "ooh" and "aah" as the city explodes into colour, in remberance of Guy Fawkes (Guido Fawkes) and his foiled plot to blow up Parliament and the King in 1605.

Guy Fawkes was born in Yorkshire in 1570. A convert to the Catholic faith, Fawkes had been a soldier who had spent several years fighting in Italy. It was during this period that he adopted the name Guido (Italian for Guy) perhaps to impress the ladies!

'Guy Fawkes Day' also known as 'Bonfire Night' or 'Fireworks Night' by some, marks the date, November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators attempted to kill King James I and the Members of Parliament and to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Guy Fawkes & Co

This conspiracy arose as a reaction to the persecution of Catholics under the rule of King James, a Protestant. Infuriated by the failure of King James, the son of the passionately Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, to grant more toleration to Catholics. Four other Catholics joined with Fawkes in his plans including Robert Catesby. Catesby made a fatal error and invited other Catholics to join the plot until there were 60 plotters in all, you try keeping a secret when 60 people know about it.

Thomas Percy rented a cellar beneath the Palace of Westminster and 36 barrels of gunpowder were placed in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament. But Francis Tresham betrayed the conspiracy in a letter to his brother-in-law Lord Monteagle, warning him not to attend parliament. Monteagle told the government and Fawkes was caught red handed in the cellars under Parliament, with a box of matches in his pocket and a guilty expression on his face! His fellow conspirators fled but many were killed or arrested and 9 members of the 60+ plotters, including Fawkes, were hung, drawn and quartered in January 1606.

Comedians down the ages have said that he was "the only man ever to have entered Parliament with honest intentions."


  1. Thank you - I was wondering why some of my UK blogs were talking about fireworks. Of course, being a history major (we had to take world history) I knew about Guy Fawkes but not about the fireworks and stuff. I've learned something today *g*

  2. Any excuse for fireworks, sparklers and staying up late as kids!! It is a shame my kids will miss out on that tradition!!

  3. oh, and unless someone blogs in and wants a book between now and in the morning - guess what? As the only one who wanted one you get it by defalt! It's defalt of no one else wanting one (groan) I'd take the Brockman because in 7 years at the store I've only seen 2 copies of it - and I'm sure we'll get the Shalvis in again at some point. I'll make it a mission to find you one.

  4. I heard about that story, but this is maybe because of my extended education. Sometimes I think I studied way too much!

  5. Wow, ya learn something every day.

    Is he considered a hero, or is this just a traditional holiday?

  6. Happy Guy Fawkes Day, Toni!!

  7. The celebration is supposed to be because he was caught--I'm not sure if anybody cares anymore about why they have fun--they just have fun :)