Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

If there are any British readers of this blog, Happy Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!
There are many videos online of the above.  Here's one of them:





I wonder if my British Denyer ancestors, who immigrated to America in the early-1800s, observed Guy Fawkes day in any fashion after arriving in America.  I wonder if my Newmark ancestors who lived in London for fifteen years from the mid-1890s to 1910 got into the habit of celebrating it with their neighbors.

If you are reading this on November Fifth, the Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Day is Gunpowder. Clearly in honor of November Fifth. However, they don't store archives, so you can only see the current Word of the Day.  (Or you can subscribe to their free email edition, like I do.)

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

Being Boston, this Puritan holiday became extremely popular here in the 1600s. However, being America, it quickly evolved into something completely new. It was known as "Pope Night" and a night to burn effigies of politicians, the pope or the devil. This continued through the 1800s, especially when anti-Catholic sentiment ran high during Irish immigration. Eventually it blended with Halloween and became "Hell night", the night to soap windows, tip cows and outhouses, etc. unless you were paid off with "treats". A bit of history that continues today- and it all started with Guy Fawkes!