It’s the 5th of November…Guy Fawkes Day…
Did you know that George Washington condemned the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, otherwise known at the time as “Pope Day”? The colonies were in need of the support of Canadian, French Catholics and, needless to say, his soldiers burning the Pope in effigy was not ideal in winning the Canadians’ trust.
Before the American colonies found another enemy to distrust (namely the British), many colonists were staunchly anti-Catholic. The prejudices against Catholics in the new colonies were carried over from Europe. Guy Fawkes and his Catholic conspirators’ attempt to blow up the English King James and his new Parliament (and replace him with his Catholic daughter) did not go over well in London. In Boston, before the Revolution, even the gangs fought for the right and privilege to burn the Pope effigy on Pope Day!
Nowadays, the holiday is celebrated with whisky (as well as other drinks), bonfires, and fire-works. The anti-Catholic sentiments have largely been forgotten over time. What can I say, people love a good fireworks display!
Here’s a poem to go with your dram tonight-
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!