Remember, remember, the fifth of November


Credit: Jamie Street on Unsplash

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated on Nov. 5 to commemorate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Amy Martin, Features Editor

When people think of November, they typically think of Thanksgiving, right? Well, in the case of the United States, yes. But what about other parts of the world?

In the United Kingdom, there’s a different holiday to be celebrated. On Nov. 5 of every year, the country celebrates Guy Fawkes Day, otherwise known as Bonfire Night, in order to commemorate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

The Gunpowder Plot was led by Robert Catesby. It was sparked by rage toward King James I when the King refused to support religious tolerance toward Catholics. Thus, conspirators planned to blow up the Palace of Westminster during the state opening of Parliament in order to kill the King and members of Parliament.

However, the plan failed when one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes, was taken into custody the day before the attack in the cellar where the explosives were stashed.

After the other conspirators were all taken into custody, tried for high treason and executed, and after Londoners began celebrating by lighting bonfires, Parliament declared that Nov. 5 would become a national day of thanksgiving.

In modern day, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with parades, food and fireworks, which is specifically supposed to represent the explosives that were planned to be used but never were. Some people even throw in straw effigies of Fawkes, as well as of unpopular political figures or other unlikable people, into big bonfires. It is also often expected for children to carry these effigies around, asking passerbys for “a penny for the Guy.” They would also recite the famous rhyme of the Gunpowder Plot:

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November

The Gunpowder treason and plot

I see no reason

Why Gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot…”