October 24, 2012

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Many have heard the rhyme: remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot, in reference to Guy Fawkes Night. Guy Fawkes Night usually involves a bonfire of an effigy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605.

Guy Fawkes burning at Old Fort Erie
On November 5, 1605 a group of English Catholics planned to blow up Parliament with a massive amount of gunpowder placed in the basement. If successful, King James I would be killed along with the leading Protestant nobility. The conspirators hoped to crush the leading nobility in order to bring a return to Catholicism in England. The plan failed when Guy Fawkes was captured and sentence to be executed.

Days after the failed attempt on King James’ life, people were permitted to hold bonfires to celebrate the king’s survival. In 1606, Parliament passed an act to recognize November 5th as a national day of thanksgiving. Ever since then in England, and many other countries, the tradition of burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes lives on. During the War of 1812, soldiers and citizens in Canada celebrated this tradition with bonfires and other festivities.
Make sure you remember, remember to visit Old Fort Erie, Fort George and the Drummond Hill Cemetery, among others, for their yearly Halloween tours.

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