Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Guy Fawkes ... #166

Yes November the 5th is generally the day for fireworks in New Zealand .. even more so that New Years Eve... Tonight was a very calm delightful evening in Wellington and it seemed like everyone was out to enjoy 15 minutes of fireworks display in the middle of the Harbour. For video got to the DomPost website.

Today is one of those bizzare celebrations from our English heritage .... Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), was a member of a group of English Roman Catholics who attempted to carry out the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I of England, to destroy Protestant rule by killing the Protestant aristocracy, on 5 November 1605. Ther is always confusion as to whether the celebration is about the fact that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament or that he failed!!

Fawkes is notorious for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was probably placed in charge of executing the plot because of his military and explosives experience. The plot, masterminded by Robert Catesby, was an attempt by a group of English conspirators to kill King James I of England, his family, and most of the aristocracy by blowing up the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament. Fawkes may have been introduced to Catesby by Hugh Owen, a man who was in the pay of the Spanish Netherlands. Sir William Stanley is also believed to have recommended him, and Fawkes named him under torture, leading to his arrest and imprisonment for a day after the discovery of the plot. It was Stanley who first presented Fawkes to Thomas Winter in 1603 when Winter was in Europe. Stanley was the commander of the English in Flanders at the time. Stanley had handed Deventer and much of its garrison back to the Spanish in 1587, nearly wiping out the gains that the Earl of Leicester had made in the Low Countries. Leicester’s expedition was widely regarded as a disaster, for this reason among others.


Gerald (SK14) said...

The problem here with bonfire night is that it isn't just the one night. We've had nightly fireworks since the middle of October. Not unexpectedly Saturday was the loudest night. We've had some tonight already [6.30pm as I write] - it rained earlier but not enough to put the dampers on. Some loud ones just gone off this minute and they'll go on till the end of the month.

I'm getting to sound like a grumpy old man but there has just been more bangs gone of as I write this sentence than there are word therein and they've been LOUD!

I'll stop now!

Anonymous said...

Fireworks going mad outside here too!

I think the celebration is supposed to be of the fact that Guy Fawkes failed - but I suspect there are plenty of people who secretly sympathise with him and wouldn't object to doing away with parliament although perhaps not so drastically!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Iwas not aware that Guy Fawkes Night was celebrated in NZ.

Traditionally we celebrate because the plot failed.

From South Shields Daily Photo

Livio Bonino said...

Thanks for your interesting hisotry lesson.