Friday, November 6, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night

Last night was Guy Fawkes night. For those of you without an English (or Australian or Kiwi) background, Guy Fawkes became famous when he was caught in an attempt assassinate King James I by blowing up the English Houses of Parliament during the state opening on the 5th of November 1605.

Details of the plot were leaked due to concerns over the safety off others who would be present at the opening of parliament. Fawkes and several other conspirators were captured before they were able to detonate the gunpowder they had stockpiled in a ground-floor flat beneath the House of Lords.

Each year the people of England celebrate the foiling of the plot by lighting bonfires or setting off fireworks. In Wellington, last night, we had a 20 minute fireworks display set off from three boats in the harbour. I find it pretty odd that the Australians don't celebrate Guy Fawkes really at all, but the Kiwis really seem to get into it. I guess any excuse to light fireworks...

Fireworks in Wellington Harbour

I think this a fascinating bit of history. A really good movie to rent if you haven't seen it is V for Vendetta. It borrows many ideas from Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

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