Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 46 - Catch Up Day and some Fireworks for Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night Celebrations
Today I spent most of the day continuing to update Day 44.  Almost finished with the river cruise, still have to do Greenwich, the continued bus tour, dinner, Dirty Dancing and Halloween.  Yikes.

As for Day 45, we've got a lot of pictures and info to add from the British Museum.

I reserve our Saturdays for updating the Saturday Spankings URLs, paying bills and doing a little cleaning.

Hubby did some shopping, but it was raining, so he stayed in most of the day, too.

Tomorrow, we want to try Speaker's Corner again, if the weather is better, and Harrods, so we can try to pick up our Harrods Christmas Bear, so we should have more pictures to share, though I'm already behind.

Monday we're planning a trip to visit some friends who live in Herne Bay, and Tuesday is Guy Fawkes Day. For those of you who may not have heard about this uniquely British celebration, Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. In the immediate aftermath of the 5 November arrest of Guy Fawkes, caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords, James's Council allowed the public to celebrate the king's survival with bonfires, so long as they were "without any danger or disorder". This made 1605 the first year the plot's failure was celebrated.

Guy Fawkes
 The following January, days before the surviving conspirators were executed, Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act, commonly known as the "Thanksgiving Act". It was proposed by a Puritan Member of Parliament, Edward Montagu, who suggested that the king's apparent deliverance by divine intervention deserved some measure of official recognition, and kept 5 November free as a day of thanksgiving while in theory making attendance at Church mandatory. A new form of service was also added to the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, for use on that date.

Bonfire with Guy Fawkes effigy burning
Following Charles I's execution in 1649, the country's new republican regime remained undecided on how to treat 5 November. Unlike the old system of religious feasts and State anniversaries, it survived, but as a celebration of parliamentary government and Protestantism, and not of monarchy. Commonly the day was still marked by bonfires and miniature explosives, but formal celebrations resumed only with the Restoration, when Charles II became king. Courtiers, High Anglicans and Tories followed the official line, that the event marked God's preservation of the English throne, but generally the celebrations became more diverse.

London Dungeon's representation of Guy Fawkes
Fawkes was born and educated in York.  His father died when he was only 8 years old and his mother married a Catholic who refused to attend the Anglican church.  Fawkes later converted to Catholicism and left for the continent, where he fought in the Eighty Years' War on the side of Catholic Spain against Protestant Dutch reformers. He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England but was unsuccessful. He later met Thomas Wintour, with whom he returned to England.

Wintour introduced Fawkes to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters secured the lease to an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, and Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder they stockpiled there. Prompted by the receipt of an anonymous letter, the authorities searched Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and found Fawkes guarding the explosives. Over the next few days, he was questioned and tortured, and eventually he broke. Sentenced to be drawn and quartered on 31 January, immediately before his execution, Fawkes jumped from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of the mutilation that followed.

I hope to follow up with more "live" pictures from the celebrations this year.  Weather can cancel the fireworks displays, but I have captured some from previous years to share with you if necessary.

I can hear some fireworks being shot off tonight, and other areas had displays on Friday night.  We even heard fireworks on Halloween, so even though November 5th is Bonfire Night, celebrations are spread out both in area and time.

Sorry today is so sparse, but I'll continue to add photos and information to Day 44 and 45 until they are complete and will try to add new ones as we go along.  We have a little over a week remaining us in our trip, so we are winding down.

Until tomorrow....

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