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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student


England’s fireworks for Fawkes

LONDON - “Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.”

We all know the famous saying, but where’s it from? “V for Vendetta” is a common response, but where did it originate?

Last week, the skies over London looked like Independence Day.

Wait, I know what you’re thinking. “England has an independence day? Aren’t we the ones who fought for freedom from the Brits?”

Well, yes, but who wouldn’t want a slice of the fireworks and beer pie?

So I looked into it – what exactly were they celebrating?

Guy Fawkes Day occurs annually on Nov. 5 in celebration of preventing Parliament from blowing up. Not blowing up as in a bunch of old men in wigs yelling at each other, but with dynamite.

The history of Nov. 5 is known as the “Gunpowder Plot,” which was a failed attempt by a group of English Catholics that wanted to kill the king as well as most members of Parliament on its opening day.

The group of English Catholics were upset that King James I hadn’t restored
Catholicism to what it was before Queen Elizabeth took reign and were convinced that blowing up Parliament was the answer. With that in mind, Guy Fawkes filled the undercroft with 36 barrels of gunpowder.

All was set to blow until Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter asking him not to attend the opening of Parliament. The letter eventually made its way to the king,
and he then conducted a search of the cellars underneath Parliament.

Nov. 5, 1605, was a fateful morning for Guy Fawkes. He was discovered, arrested, tortured for information, and then executed.

So now every fifth of November in the name of anti-terrorism, people light bonfires and shoot fireworks commemorating the capture of Guy Fawkes.

What seems odd is that it’s celebrated with explosions and fire – something that was luckily prevented and actually saved the king’s life.

It’s interesting to think of it as a holiday in celebration of capturing of a terrorist. The U.S. doesn’t have any holidays even remotely similar – well, maybe Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, but it’s not quite the same.

It’s almost as if the Brits are celebrating in Guy Fawkes’ name, honoring his efforts to kill the king in the name of Catholicism.

Even four days after the fifth, I was still seeing fireworks going off, so either Guy Fawkes Day is quite the celebration or Chinese fireworks are easier to get in England.

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