Friday, November 05, 2010

Remember, remember, the 5th of November...

Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night, otherwise known as Bonfire Night, an annual British tradition celebrated on the 5th of November marking the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5th November 1605. A group of provincial English Catholics led by Sir Robert Catesby plotted an assassination attempt against King James I of England by blowing up the House of Lords on the morning of the State Opening of Parliament on the 5th of November. Yorkshire born and raised Guy Fawkes who had extensive military training during the Dutch Revolt was in charge of the explosives hidden beneath the House of Lords. 
A tip-off by an anonymous letter to William Parker prompted the authorities to stage an investigate search in which they found Guy Fawkes guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in Westminster Palace in the early hours of 5th of November.

Gunpowder Plot has been commemorated across Great Britain for the past four centuries. His effigy is burned on a bonfire, accompanied by fireworks displays across the country. 

This year Guy Fawkes Night coincides with Diwali, The Festival of Lights, an important festival in Hindu, Jain, and Sikh traditions, celebrating the victory of good over evil; light over darkness; and knowledge over ignorance. In Gujarat, Keenan’s Dad’s homestate, this five-day festival honors Lakshimi, the goddess of wealth. Elsewhere in India, Diwali is associated with Kali and Rama and Sita’s return from fourteen years of exile after defeating Ravana. Diwali is celebrated with families getting together for a festive meal, wearing new clothes, lighting of lamps and lanterns; and exchanging of small gifts, usually Indian sweets. 

To celebrate the occasion of Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali, Keenan and I watched the fireworks show in Clapham Common, and then had ourselves an Indian meal of biryani and chicken tikka washed down by a Bordeaux Red.

Happy Diwali!

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