Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Today is Guy Fawkes Day, a traditional English celebration dating back to the early 17th century. Guy Fawkes was one of the leading conspirators in a plot to blow up Parliament in 1605. He and his fellow plotters, who wanted the restoration of the Catholic faith in England, stored large quantities of gunpowder in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, to be ignited when King James I and most of the nobility were inside for the State Opening. However, the plot was betrayed and Guy Fawkes and his gang were arrested and ultimately beheaded.
We celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks and bonfires, traditionally burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes (from whose name derives the term "guy" for a man). In recent years the American (and much more commercial) festival of Hallowe'en seems to be taking over, and Health & Safety are imposing their own ludicrous restrictions on the fun. For instance, a rugby club in Devon has been forced to have a "virtual bonfire", when participants will gather round a giant screen showing a fire, to the accompaniment of recorded crackling noises, a smoke machine, and sparklers.