“Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I see of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.”
Tonight, fireworks will explode over the heads of millions of Britons in remembrance of a time when plotting and skulduggery were prominent.
We will all wrap up and head out into the dark, cold and potentially wet evening for the long held British traditional of standing around a roaring firepit, whilst eating hot dogs and sipping warm drinks waiting for that magical moment when all heads will raise to the sky to ooh and aah the bright bursts of colour that will flash before our eyes.
But Why Do We Celebrate The 5th November?
Conspiracy and treachery became second nature to many during the reign of Kings and Queens of yester year; it was not uncommon for royalty to receive death threats or to be attacked whilst out visiting on official business.
Jacobean England was a volatile, anger-fuelled period predominately brought about by the clash between Catholics and Protestants of the era. Already the King of Scotland, James I became King of England in 1603 making him the first Monarch to rule over both countries.
Believing the King would be more tolerant of religious differences, Catholics were angered when he ordered the banishment of all priests from England. Enraged by their treatment, a group of conspirators decided to take action against the person that was persecuting people for their beliefs.
Renting a house next to the Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators devised a plan to kill the King when he appeared at the opening of Parliament on the 5th November. Storing gunpowder under the House of Lords, they believed that they have the perfect plan – kill the King, replace him with his daughter and Catholics would once again, be welcome.
As the explosive expert, Guy Fawkes, was expected to enter the cellar and set off the gunpowder which would see the King and the Houses of Parliament go up in a puff of smoke. Unfortunately, for the conspirators, the deadly plot was uncovered just in time. Guy Fawkes was arrested, placed in the Tower of London and tortured until he revealed the name of those in the treacherous act with him.
In celebration, the King ordered that fires be started to burn effigies of the Pope knowing that this would further enrage the defiant. Today, tradition has changed and now Guy can be found on top of the blazing flames.
With sparklers in hand, many will remember that Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot is the reason for tonight’s celebration, they many also remember that he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament but not everyone will remember the events leading up to this.
The night of November Fifth will be full of colour; reds, blues and greens will grace the skyline with exploding grace. Shooting stars and Catherine wheels will light up the darkness whilst youngsters scream in glee at the sights. No-one, in that moment, will be remembering the hideous crime that was nearly committed on this night back in 1605.
Interested in Visiting the Scene of the Crime?
Head over to the Houses of Parliament and wander in the footsteps of the conspirators. Tour guides do not mention the act of treason that took place here, but you are able to wander in the footsteps of all Royals to have graced Westminster with their presence.
Want to Find Out More About Guy Fawkes?
Interested in seeing where he was imprisoned the head to the Tower of London. Head to the White Tower where Guy Fawkes is believed to have been kept and tortured.
Head over to the London Dungeons to find out more about the famous plotter or visit St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard where Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered. A gruesome event for a heinous crime.
With the darkness creeping in, and the fireworks about to start the only question remaining is where will you be spending Bonfire night?