Guy Fawkes Day
Guy Fawkes Day might be a fun bonfire night for us, but it has a weird (and interesting) historical, religious and political beginning. This British holiday dates way back to 1603. It's rooted in a pretty serious crime, but today it's a fun, quirky holiday. Check out the down low on Guy Fawkes Day.
The Angry Catholic
The year 1605 was not a good time to be Catholic in England. Queen Elizabeth I (not to be confused with the current Queen Elizabeth II), had just died and had been replaced by King James I. Queen Elizabeth I had not been very nice to the Catholics and many people hoped that King James would be nicer to them - he wasn't. A small group of angry Catholics - including Guy Fawkes - decided to take matters into their own hands. The group plotted to blow up the King and the entire British Parliament. However, one of the members of the rebel group warned a friend of his (who was a Member of Parliament) about the bombing. As a result, Guy Fawkes and his men were caught loading gunpowder into the Parliament's basement on November 5th. The men were executed for treason.
So how did treason and gunpowder turn into a national holiday? It all started in 1605 - the same year Guy Fawkes' scheme was prevented. The British people celebrated the foiled attack by burning effigies (dummies) of Guy Fawkes. The tradition continued and now the holiday is celebrated every November 5th with bonfires, fireworks and burning dummies. Some kids even keep up the old tradition of making a dummy of Guy Fawkes and collecting change for it. They use the money they collect to buy fireworks. These days, the holiday is widely called Bonfire Night.
Having a hard time remembering the important details of Guy Fawkes Day? This traditional nursery rhyme should help:
"Remember, remember the fifth of November - Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot."
Have Your Say
Have you ever heard of this day before? Do celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? Let us know!