Have you ever been sorrounded by fireworks? Well, I was last night. The reason is the annual bonfire night in UK to commemorate the failed coup that would have otherwise blown up the houses of Parliament in 1603.
Bonfire night started in 5th November 1603, as a celebration of the King´s safety. As the story goes, a group of 13 men hired a mercenary called Guy Fawkes to help them kill James I. Just like Elizabeth I, this king was not tolerant of Catholics, despite having a Catholic mother. It then became quite clear that many innocents would also die if the 36 barrels of gunpowder placed in the cellars of the Parliament would be ignited. This also included some Catholics. The group was betrayed, although it is now quite unclear if the group would have been able to achieve their aims, even in they had not been betrayed.
It was really interesting to see some beautiful fireworks right ahead of me, behind and to my right hand side as I made my way to the tube station last night. Displays were everywhere, as many clubs, associations and private people kept lighting them all day long.
Despite all the security headaches that bonfires could pose, I think we still find it here to be a nice excuse for a party or to do something different. One of the most distinguishable features is the mask that appears on V for Vendetta, which global occupy protesters now use too. As a bit of fun, here´s an infographic on the mask and the different types of taches sported by different characters and personalities.
Some traditions are still carried out today. For example, the cellars of the Houses of Parliament are still checked on that night. The festivities in the city of Lewes attract many tourists each year. In New England, in USA, the settlers brought this tradition with them in what they now call Pope Day.
Remember, remember 5th November…