Monday, 5 November 2012

Bonfire Night!

Guy Fawkes - borrowed from the web
Fireworks have been going off all throughout the weekend although Bonfire Night is actually tonight on 5 November. The Cat is not too pleased about that, but he tends to stay indoors when it gets chilly and he doesn't seem to mind the fireworks when he feels safe inside.
Bonfire Night is also called Guy Fawkes' Night. For over 400 years bonfires have burned on November 5th to mark the failed gunpowder plot - a plot that relates back to the conflict between catholics and protestants. In 1605, thirteen men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes.
Some of the 13... borrowed from the web
After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion.  Unfortunately, James was not and 13 young men, decided that violent action was the answer by blowing up the Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. However, as they realised that also innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack some of the plotters had second thoughts and an anonymous letter was sent to warn a friend to stay away from the Parliament that day. But the warning letter reached the King, and the King's forces stopped the conspirators. Guy Fawkes was in the cellar with the barrels of gunpowder when the cellar was stormed so he was caught and executed. So, the questions many ask are - was he framed and would the plot have worked as the gunpowder apparently was old...
On the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, lit bonfires in thanksgiving, a tradition to this day!
You can ask whether it is anti-Catholic to celebrate this event, but I agree with those that say that it is important to remember the history and the fact that the celebration is a commemoration of the thwarting of an act of mass murder. Also, I feel it is safe to say that the passage of the centuries has eradicated any sense of anti-Catholicism associated with the celebration.

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