Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guy Fawkes Day

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot
Words of "Remember Remember" refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

The Tradition begins...
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".

I have to admit that despite all the hoopla over here in the States over the newly elected President, it wasn't him that I woke up thinking about this morning. It was childhood memories of Guy Fawkes Day. By and far that was one of my favorite days of the year. My Dad would help me make an Effigy of guy Fawkes, I would then put him in either the wheel barrow or my doll stroller and together with a friend we'd wheel him down to the corner shops and pan handle... OMG, we really did that and people really gave us money. At the end of the day we would take the money into the corner shop and buy the biggest box of fireworks we could afford. That night dinner would be done around the bonfire, generally baked potatoes cooked in the fire. The Guy would burn on top of the fire and Dad would let off all the fireworks, I think Catherine Wheels were my favorite
One year I was too sick to participate in the outdoor activities and so sat in the kitchen window watching as my Dad let all of the fireworks off.
Another year as we were all standing about in the garden my Dad let off a traffic light and for whatever reason it started following my friend Lian, as she ran from it, it kept jumping in her direction, why it did that nobody knows but it certainly gave us all a laugh, except of course Lian.
If you live in England I hope you had a wonderful fun time tonight, eating your baked potatoe and drinking your hot chocolate


Kat's Credence said...

Thanks for sharing your memories!

Emma said...

I just had a conversation with my parents about Guy Fawkes Day. I had forgotten (oops) that yesterday was the 5th and all that went with that significant day in British history. Anyway we moved to the States before I remember doing anything to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day but it was my mom's favorite day of the year too. She told me a story almost identical to yours except that her brother instead of her father was involved in getting ready for the bonfire. Cool post Penny.

Karin Schueller said...

Okay, that sounds so cool! Now I know how you feel on We are just crazy about Halloween here, and don't know a darn thing about November 5th. I have never heard of this, and I thought it was really neat to read. Thanks for sharing, Penny. :)

Brett said...

Fireworks Year Round :) !

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