Remember, Remember…

5 11 2010

Halloween is over, and Christmas is on its way, but today people have another reason to ‘celebrate’ – because, after all, people grab any possible opportunity they get to have a bit of fun.

And so today, a lot of people are in glad tidings over Guy Fawkes Day.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November…

But do they actually know what it means, how the rest of that little rhyme goes, or who Guy Fawkes was?

Probably not. Brush up on your history, people. Don’t be happy-go-lucky just because it’s ‘bonfire night’.

Guy Fawkes joined up with a group of English Catholics in 1604, coming up with the (probably-not-so-) famous (-amongs-a-lot-of-people) Gunpowder Plot. Basic gist: they were planning to assassinate King James (a Protestant). And how would this be done?

Why, by blowing up parliament of course.

[Something I’m sure a lot of us sometimes feel like doing…]

However, this glorious plot was not to reach completion, for on the eve of 26 October 1605, an anonymous letter was sent to Lord Monteagle, informing him that something was afoot. Of course, the conspirators were confident that this letter would be seen as a hoax, so they decided to continue with their plot anyway, planting barrels of gunpowder amongst the piles of coal and firewood in the cellar of the Parliament building.

After being discovered at the scene on – you guessed it – the 5th of November, undergoing torture and interrogation, and being trialled in January of 1606, Fawkes was to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He was able to jump from the gallows, but broke his neck in the process. Ironic, I suppose, but at least dying quickly is better than swinging by a rope and choking to death. Not that they let him be after he was dead – his corpse was still drawn and quartered (gruesome, huh?), and to top it all of, his body parts were distributed to various parts of the kingdom, serving as a sort of warning to other conspirators and traitors.

So, why are we supposed to remember the 5th of November?

According to Wikipedia, “[O]n 5 November 1605 Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination by lighting bonfires, “always provided that ‘this testemonye of joy be careful done without any danger or disorder'”. An Act of Parliament designated each 5 November as a day of thanksgiving for “the joyful day of deliverance”, and remained in force until 1859”.

A crock of s*** (the whole ‘deliverance’ and thanksgiving thing), if you ask me, but at least there is the joke that Guy Fawkes was the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions 😉

Now that I’ve given you a bit of a history lesson, feel free to light your bonfires, and shoot off rockets and crackers, and whatever else one does on Guy Fawkes night – because I don’t know how it’s ‘supposed’ to be celebrated. I only blog here.




3 responses

5 11 2010
5 11 2010

Well I did forget. Guess I didn’t “Remember, Remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason, and plot. I should think of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot!” Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

P.S. Don’t forget the eighth of November….

18 11 2010


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