Monday, 6 November 2017

Bonfire Night, Fireworks' Night or Guy Fawkes Night

Do you know the answer to these questions?
Who was Guy Fawkes, how did he die and why do we celebrate the gunpowder plot every Bonfire Night?

"REMEMBER, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."

Bonfire Night is also known as Fireworks' Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It's a British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I. Bonfire Night is the anniversary of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605.

The plot was centred around a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries furious at the persecution of their faith in England.
After 45 years of hounding under the reign of Elizabeth I the plotters had hoped their struggles would end but they failed to after the Protestant King James I ascended to the throne.
Warwickshire-born Catholic Robert Catesby and his friends planned to take matters into their own hands and kill the King and his ministers by blowing up the Palace of Westminster during the state opening of parliament.

Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night?

Bonfire Night is celebrated in the UK by lighting bonfires, burning of "Guys" and setting off fireworks.
The celebration was actually enshrined in law a few months after the attempt and remained on the statute books until 1859.
Fireworks are also set off throughout the land as they are powered by gunpowder, representing the explosives that were never used.

Bonfire night in Winchester, England

Guy Fawkes via BBC History

On 5 November every year, the effigy of Guy Fawkes is still burned on bonfires across England in recognition of his part in the failed 'Gunpowder Plot' of 1605.
Fawkes didn't devise or lead the plot to assassinate James I, so why is he still singled out as one of British history's greatest villains more than 400 years after his death?

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