Bonfire Night

 
I‘m sitting here listening to the fireworks. Tonight, November 5th, is Bonfire Night here, is also known as Fireworks Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It’s a British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which aimed to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I.
Firework festivities take place throughout London’s boroughs tonight. They Brits say it’s great fun to wrap up warm and head out to enjoy spectacular fireworks, huge bonfires, delicious refreshments and great entertainment. Small-time neighborhood fireworks enthusiasts are also shooting off rockets and such, some just across the street.
What started all this? In 1605, Roman Catholic conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot wanted to restore civil rights to members of their religion. The plot was set for the State Opening of Parliament in 1605 as all the members of the House of Commons and Lords, as well as the King, would be present at that time. Gunpowder was hidden in a vault beneath the House of Lords, ready to blow up Parliament, and everyone inside.
The plot was foiled when an anonymous letter, sent to the Catholic Lord Monteagle, warning him not to attend the opening, raised suspicions. A search party was dispatched, and found Guy Fawkes preparing to light the fuse on 5 November. He was arrested and tortured until he named his fellow plotters. Catholic Emancipation only came 200 years later.
To this day, it is customary for the cellars in the Houses of Parliament to be searched by the Yeoman of the Guard before each State Opening of Parliament. So, the anniversary of Fawkes’ arrest is celebrated each year with fireworks and bonfires. Here’s a handy ditty as a reminder:
“Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
 
Now, don’t go gettng any ideas about the basement of the U.S. Capitol!
 
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