November 5 2006

Guy Fawkes Night

Remember remember the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

Though I am not British, I’ve always found Guy Fawkes Night (now more commonly known as Bonfire Night) interesting. The above verse refers to the Gunpowder Plot wherein conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in Westminster when King James I and his family would be attending the 1605 State Opening. The Catholics were fed up with his reluctance, as a Protestant Monarch, to give them equal rights. The idea was to kill him and install his 9 year old daughter, Elizabeth, as a Catholic Monarch. While there were multiple conspirators, the plot is mostly closely associated with Guy Fawkes as he was the explosives expert for the plot and was captured while planting them and subsequently tortured to give up the other members of his group.

While it’s not really about the plot any more, it just amazes me they have a night to basically celebrate a foiled assassination! That would be like having a John Hinckley day! I think it is more what it stood for, but it’s still so odd. It led to the great V For Vendetta graphic novel and movie though. I believe, and anyone from England that reads this, please feel free to correct me, it is now more of a tradition and just a fun night for everyone. It still seems just like an odd thing to celebrate to me, course, how many Americans do you know that actually know what Labor Day is about other than “the unofficial last day of summer”?

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