‘Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.’
Um, shouldn’t that be ‘…ever be forgotten’? Technically, yes. But English has evolved quite a lot over the years, and the above line comes from an old rhyme about a man named Guy Fawkes.
So who is Guy Fawkes?
Every year in England, a week or so before and after the 5th November, something strange happens. The skies are lit up with different colours, and quiet autumn evenings are filled with bangs and whistles: the sights and sounds of fireworks. In some places, large fires are built and lit, and people gather around it to watch the fireworks.
But why? Well, in England, 5th November is a day of remembrance. On the same day in 1605, a group of men, including Guy Fawkes, tried to kill the king (James I) by placing explosives in the Houses of Parliament. At the time, England was divided over religion – some people were Catholic, others were Protestant. Guy Fawkes and his friends were Catholic, whereas King James I was not.
Needless to say, the plot was unsuccessful – Guy Fawkes and his friends were caught and killed. So now, every year, we remember their deaths, and how the king was almost killed.
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