Thursday, 6 November 2008

Guy Fawkes day or rather night

The Gunpowder Conspiracy of 1605, or the Powder Treason or Gunpowder Plot, as it was known at the time, was a failed assassination attempt by a group of provincial English Catholics against King James I of England and VI of Scotland. The plot intended to kill the king, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening on 5 November 1605. The conspirators had also planned to abduct the royal children, not present in Parliament, and incite a popular revolt in the Midlands.

Now this historic event is celebrated primarily in the UK and in some of its former colonies including New Zealand. As this is not a widely known event outside the English world, I am assuming many residents here who come from the non English speaking world wouldn't have a clue why we are celebrating the foiled attempt of this bloke who tried to blow up Parliament some 400 years ago!

However, what is easily associated to this day, and quite visible as well, is the sale of fireworks. In New Zealand, the sale of fireworks is bannned in general but you get a window of 3 days (formerly 10 days) to sell them. During this 3 days, shops go frantic selling fireworks with signs posted at every corner of the street, motorway, up on trees, tied to bicycles and this was good - a man in swimming trunks holding a placard near the beach on a cold night! It was windy and snowing in the South. I wonder how much he got paid - or how much profit there was in it for him.


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