Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason, should ever be forgot." So goes the very catchy poem that is said in commemoration of Guy Fawkes day, that I made mention of in the 4th part of my origin of Halloween series. It's held annually on the 5th of November in England, and since it's date is so close to Halloween the two are often celebrated together.

As the story has it, Guy Fawkes and other conspirators were Catholic militants who were conspiring to blow up the newly erected House of Parliament which was predominately of Protestant belief. This was seen as a sign of treason, but many today believe it was actually just an assassination attempt on King James, who hadn't kept his promise of putting an end to Catholic persecution at the time. But likely, we will never truly know the truth.

On November 5th, 1606, exactly a year after Guy Fawkes was hung, drawn and quartered, the King and Parliament commissioned a sermon to commemorate the event. Not to commemorate Guy Fawkes, but as a reminder to the people what exactly happens when you commit an act of treason. This practice, which they enacted annually, along with the popular nursery rhyme ensured that no one will think of committing any particularly treasonous acts again.

On this holiday, they have parades and fireworks within the streets, and they burn the effigy of a guy (Fawkes). The children, on this day, stuff newspapers into clothes and they go around asking for pennies. The kid who gets the most pennies has the best 'guy'.

Anyway, have I ever mentioned that I LOVE HIS NAME?

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