With Halloween done and Guy Fawkes Night drawing near, I shall write this blog expressing my thoughts on the British vacation which takes place on the 5th November and is often referred to as Bonfire Night.
As most of us know, the origin of Guy Fawkes Night started back in 1605 when twelve Roman Catholics planned to destroy both King James Stuart along with the Houses of Parliament. The event was known as The Gunpowder Plot. Their motive was due to the king’s broken promises in regards to tolerance towards Catholicism. The plan was that when midnight struck on the 5th November, Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators, would light the fuse, ready for Parliament’s destruction. However this attempt failed when another conspirator Francis Tresham knew a friend of his who worked there and warned him of the event, therefore betraying the gang. As a result, Guy was captured around that time, but most of the conspirators were not executed until January the next year. Since then, the vacation has been celebrated as the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ capture, rather than his execution. He wasn’t incinerated on a bonfire as some people would think. He was hung, drawn and quartered. People tend to make Guy Fawkes dolls and put them on the bonfire, because bonfires kind of relate to what could have occurred if Guy did blow up Parliament.
Although I celebrate Bonfire Night myself, I personally don’t blame Guy Fawkes for what he tried to do. This may sound controversial, but speaking as a lefty, it actually was the fault of James I (VI in Scotland). James I, who was a Protestant, literally promised a fairer life to Catholics, but left them disappointed and contributed to the long-lasting intolerance by Protestants towards Catholics which had occurred since Tudor times. The rivalry still seems to last which annoys me, because I for one know that religions are not that hurtful. If James I showed more tolerance, Robert Catesby would not have planned the Plot in the first place. This is what some people forget; Robert Catesby was the guy who organised and directed the gang to perform the Plot. Guy Fawkes did definitely take part and he supported the idea, but he did not direct anybody into further actions. All he had to do was to gather up the ingredients, including the wood and powder, and light the fuse at the stroke of midnight. In a way, there is a sense of innocence within him. Guilt would more likely hit Robert Catesby for the organisation. Maybe the destruction of Parliament was not the best idea, but if there’s one person I would blame for the incident, it’s James I. His laws were almost as bad as Adolf Hitler’s. If I were a monarch, I most certainly wouldn’t make any particular religion’s life a living hell, would I?
Despite my political views, I have long celebrated Guy Fawkes Night ever since I was a kid. For most times, me and my family attended local firework displays. My God, they were amazing! When I was an elementary school kid, the music was awesome! They played John Williams (theme tunes to ET The Extra Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Star Wars), the Thunderbirds theme tune, Star Trek, you name it. However, more recent displays seem to play music which is in the charts, which doesn’t seem to interact with the atmosphere, compared to what they used to play. Oh well, they’re still public events which is always a good thing and it’s always a pleasure to see fireworks lighting in the dark sky. We sometimes used to have home-based firework displays. However I think the public displays are better, considering that there is a larger area and the fireworks are louder, more artistic and much more interesting. However, I think the best thing about home-based displays were any Katherine wheels we had.
As the famous rhyme goes;
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
This may be a few days early I state this, but just in case I don’t get round to it, here it is; Happy Bonfire Night Everybody!