Nov. 5: Guy Fawkes Day in the UK
Stars and Stripes October 31, 2012
In 1605, England’s King James I and members of Parliament were targets of an assassination attempt that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Although just one of six conspirators, the name forever associated with the foiled plot is Guy Fawkes. Caught red-handed in the cellar of Parliament, Fawkes was hanged the following year. But that’s far from the end of the story, as even today, the people of England “remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.”
Each year on the date, and the weekend leading up to it, people light bonfires and the glow of fireworks illuminate the skies. Communities large and small recognize Guy Fawkes Day in some manner, so tourists need not look far afield to find a family- or group-appropriate gathering. Those who want to experience something really special should check out these events, which consistently receive top ratings from on-line resources:
• Ottery St. Mary in Devon, where each Nov. 5 the townspeople carry large tar barrels, set alight, through the streets. More at otterytarbarrels.co.uk.
• Lewes, in Suffolk, is home to seven bonfire societies, six of which hold their festivities on Nov. 5. lewesbonfirecouncil.org.uk.
• Battle, East Sussex, organizes its bonfire on Nov. 3. A torchlight procession of costumed characters takes place at 7:45 p.m.; battle- sussex.co.uk.
• Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire holds a “Vikings and Fireworks Spectacular” Friday through Sunday. Entry is 7.50 pounds for adults, 7 pounds for ages 5-12, and free for those younger than 5. tutburycastle.com
Note: Due to the many festivities connected with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics this year, the lord mayor’s fireworks show in London has been canceled.