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articles > Culture events


Remember remember, the fifth of November...

By Marie Decreme

Get ready to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night! Firework displays, bonfires, “a penny for the guy”; many festivities to remember 5 November 1605 night, when the Palace of Westminster was almost reduced to ashes. It happened four centuries ago…

Guy Fawkes

It was late and it was cold that November night in London. Guy Fawkes was about to wait all night in a humid basement, located just under the Houses of Parliament. Over the last few months he had painstakingly hidden thirty-six barrels of gunpowder. In the pockets of his long and wide cloak, he had a watch and some matches; everything was set. The next day, the King and his lords were going to be gathered right there over his head… His plan was to light the wick and blow them all up in smoke.

Preparations for the plot had been under way for months. A certain Robert Catesby had been pulling all the strings. He was outraged by the Catholic repression of which James I was guilty. The attack, as he saw it, would enable the kingdom to get rid of the Anglican monarch, and to replace him on the throne with his daughter Elizabeth.

But that night, Guy Fawkes was stopped in his tracks: soldiers arrived in the basement where he had been hiding and arrested him just in time. One of the Catholic lords had been forewarned of the plot and immediately warned the Prime Minister. Guards discovered the gunpowder under a pile of wood, the terrorist was caught, tortured, questioned. Two days later, he finally confessed and his accomplices were also arrested. The conspirators were finally sentenced to death and executed on 31 January.

Ever since then, every 5 November, British people around the world celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with fireworks and bonfires where they burn life-sized effigies of Guy Fawkes. It happened more than four hundred years ago… and here you are. So get ready to party next week: all week long, events will be taking place across London. Enjoy!

Fireworks above the London Eye

Here are few places where you can be sure to witness a firework display on 5 November: Southwark parkWimbledon parkBrockwell parkCrystal palaceWalthamstowIlford - BarkingsideHarlesden - Roundwood Park... 


25/11/2014 - tonyharper88 said :

I celebrate Guy Fawkes attempt, not his capture, torture and execution.
Impossible to know if we would have had a better Britain today but is is nice to think we would.

06/11/2014 - p.cadier said :

The introduction of the Reformation and independence from an increasingly politicised Rome by Henry VIII, was the launch pad of the free society that emerged later. Protestantism, the work ethos, wealth creation, the Common Law, are the reasons why we all came to live and work in London. South European countries took centuries to throw off medieval superstitions and suffered economically.
I agree that persecuting Catholics was a sad by- catch....a Bit like the Inquisition in France. Cathars, the Vaudois, Protestants and Jews met similar and repulsive deaths.. On a lighter note the people of Lewes, E. Sussex burned Manuel effigy! :)

02/11/2014 - margaritamor5 said :

The slaughter of more than 150.000 catholics and the repression and discrimination of catholic until this days are no something I whish to celebrate. Thank you.


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