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Guy Fawkes' night

Guy Fawkes

The fifth of November is Guy Fawkes' Night or Bonfire Night. This is a British festivity.

The story of Guy Fawkes goes back to the early 1600´s. During this period there were religious problems between Protestants and Catholics in Britain. King James I was a Protestant and he passed severe laws against Catholics. They were not permitted to have religious services.

A group of 12 Catholics decided to kill the King James I and destroy the Parliament Building. They planned to blow up The Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605, when the King was present. This was called the Gunpowder Plot.

The leader of the plot was Robert Catesby. The plotters put 30 barrels of explosives in the cellar under the Parliament Building.

Guy Fawkes was an expert with explosives. His responsability was to guard the barrels of explosives and light the fuse on 5 November.

The King´s soldiers discovered the plot. Guy Fawkes was immediately arrested and tortured. The other plotters were found three days later. Guy Fawkes and the others were hanged.

On the night of 5 November 1605 many people in London were very happy because the plot was discovered. To celebrate (Level 1 or Level 2) they started bonfires in the street. Someone made an effigy of Guy Fawkes and burned it. Every since the British have celebrated Guy Fawkes' Night..

The celebrating of "Bonfire" or "Guy Fawkes' Night" is well established in England. These days it is an excuse to let off fireworks and have a good time. Its origins are all but forgotten, although everyone knows of Guy Fawkes and the rough outline of the story. Any religious significance is certainly absent these days, except perhaps in Lewes where 5th Nov is particularly relished.