Guy Fawkes night is an commemoration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. A group of Catholic men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament in retaliation for the persecution of English Catholics but were undone by one of their own. The group accessed 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them under the Houses of parliament, waiting for the moment they could destroy all those who stood against Catholicism. However, some of the conspirators had second thoughts. It is said that one of them wrote a letter warning of the plot. That letter reached the King and unfortunately for Guy Fawkes he was found with the gunpowder when the guards stormed the basements. He was arrested, tortured and executed. On the night of 5th November 1605 bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King and thus the date became known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated with bonfires, fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes.
Today the Queen only enters Parliament one day a year and the Yeoman of the Guard still search the basements before her arrival.
The whole occurrence was immortalised in a nursery rhyme:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
For more information take a look at: www.bonefire.org