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Guy Fawkes Day

The major fireworks holiday in Great Britain is held on November 5th and is known as Guy Fawkes Day. Strange as it may seem, the holiday commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and a band of Englishmen tried to blow up the British Houses of Parliament by placing barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the Parliament building.

Fawkes was caught after the aborted attempt at anarchy, and he was tried and convicted of treason. The early British terrorist was hanged, drawn and quartered; not a very civil end. The celebration of the event in England has Britons shooting fireworks, lighting bonfires and burning effigies of Guy himself.

The tradition actually has children begging for money that they use to buy fireworks to remember the failed bombing. Both consumer fireworks and professional fireworks are used.

Another view of the plot has Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, as part of a plot to assassinate King James I, an Anglican, because of the failure of the King to stop the persecution of Catholics in Great Britain. Supposedly, the King was going to be in the Parliament building at an appointed time and the conspirators were going to detonate the explosives when he arrived. Tradition to this day requires that the basement of the Houses of Parliament are searched on opening day. Regardless of the actual reasons behind the plot, Guy Fawkes Day is the fireworks day of the year in the United Kingdom.

Guy Fawkes Day Celebrated November 5.