guy fawkes night cambridge

Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
’twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

If you ever happen to be in the UK on the 5th of November you are a lucky person because you get to watch the most wonderful firework displays and bonfires! But why is that?

Let’s go back to the year 1605 when Guy Fawkes and other conspirators tried to blow up the Parliament, an event which is also known as the “Gunpowder Plot”. This group of conspirators managed to hide 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords – enough to kill all Members of Parliament and the nearest relatives of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, who was the main target in this attempted assassination.

A chain of events all over Europe led to the Gunpowder Plot, but it was mainly the persecution of Catholics under the rule of Protestant King James, for which the conspirators wanted to take revenge. In the end they did not succeed in blowing up the King and the Parliament as the authorities received an anonymous letter and discovered Guy Fawkes during a search of the House of Lords, guarding the explosives.


So every year on the 5th of November British people commemorate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot with extravagant firework displays and bonfires. The Yeomen of the Guard even ‘ceremonially’ search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster in order to prevent a modern-day Gunpowder Plot.


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