Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.
By god’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
This is a poem that children across the UK learn from a very young age and it explains the story of Guy Fawkes, who we celebrate on 5th November each year with Guy Fawkes Night.
Guy Fawkes was a devout Catholic wishing to restore a Catholic monarchy in the UK. In 1605 our King was James I, who was part of the Church of England. Guy Fawkes, along with another 11 plotters, came up with the Gunpowder Plot.
The plan was to store barrels of gunpowder underneath the House of Lords in London and light them on the evening of 4th November in an attempt to assassinate King James I. However, a letter was written to authorities exposing the plan and Guy Fawkes, who was in charge of guarding the gunpowder, was found and arrested. The remaining plotters fled London but most were caught and later sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
When Brits around the country heard of the King’s survival of his assassination attempt, people lit bonfires to celebrate and parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act 1605, a public thanksgiving for the failure of the plot.
Over the years, this celebration grew strong ties with anti-Catholicism and protestants would burn effigies of popular Catholic figures, such as the Pope. There tended to be increased violence and tension between Catholic and Protestant believers. However, over the years, this has dampened and it’s seen more as a celebration for all people of all backgrounds in the modern day.
Bonfire night will often be celebrated with fireworks, sparklers, Catherine wheels and, most importantly, a big bonfire. People will create an effigy of Guy Fawkes and throw it on the bonfire as a reminder of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.
Almost every local town and city will hold a bonfire night celebration so if you’re in the UK around the 5th November, it’s definitely worth checking it out!