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Guy Fawkes' Day

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Guy Fawkes' Day


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Remember, remember the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot!

The 5th of November is celebrated as Guy Fawkes' Day all over England. Fireworks are set off, bonfires are lit, and effigies, or 'guys' are burnt. Guy Fawkes is perhaps the country's most celebrated traitor. Why is he remembered?

Read on and find out why...

Guy Fawkes' Day marks the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy of a group of English Roman Catholics to blow up Parliament and King James I together with his queen and his oldest son on November 5, 1605. The leader of the plot was probably one Robert Catesby. He and several others, including Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy, John Wright and Guy Fawkes, were unhappy with the way Roman Catholics were being treated in England at the time. They hoped that by blowing up the Parliament and the king, they would help Roman Catholics to take over the running of the country.

But the plot was discovered, and Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed as he entered a cellar that extended below the palace at Westminster, and where the conspirators had hidden at least 20 barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was arrested, and under torture revealed the names of the other conspirators. Percy and Catesby and two others were killed while resisting arrest. The others, including Guy Fawkes, were tried and executed.

In November 1606, Parliament established November 5 as a day of public thanksgiving. This day is known as Guy Fawkes' Day, and is still celebrated in England with fireworks and bonfires.

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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