Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember, Remember ...

Today marks the 402d anniversary of the (in)famous Gunpowder Plot, in which the Catholic Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Lords and King James I by detonating barrels of gunpowder stored in the basements of the parliament building. England still celebrates the anniversary as Guy Fawkes Day with bonfires and other such revelry.

In Boston during the colonial period, the holiday became known as Pope's Day or Pope-Night, providing an excuse for cross-town rivalries, raucous parades and general chaos. J.L. Bell and the Bostonian Society have mounted a brand-new and well-researched website, 5th of November in Boston, which provides historical background on the holiday, images and other such goodies.

If you're in Boston today, there will also be a scholarly commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day: professors Brendan McConville and Cynthia Van Zandt will discuss "Bonfires, Effigies and Brawls: Colonial Boston Celebrates Guy Fawkes Day." That begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Old State House.

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot"


Francesca Thomas said...

I always assumed that Guy Fawkes day was NEVER celebrated anywhere in North America.

Only in UK, Australia & NZ. I certainly have heard or seen any mention of it in Canada. No fireworks either. LOL

Francesca Thomas said...

Ok it used to be celebrated in Boston, it has now died out.