Over the past few days many people around New Zealand have celebrated Guy Fawkes Day. In New Zealand there is very little focus on the reason for the celebration. It is simply a good occasion to get together with friends and family for some start of summer fun.
Fireworks are only sold for the three days up to Guy Fawkes – November 2nd to 5th. You must be 18 years old to purchase them.
Most cities and towns have public displays of fireworks for everyone to enjoy. However, Wellington has moved their big firework display to Matariki in June.
How did you celebrate Guy Fawkes?
Below is a short history behind why we let off fireworks.
HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES
Over four hundred years ago, in 1605, a man called Guy Fawkes and a group of plotters attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London with barrels of gunpowder placed in the basement. They wanted to kill King James and the king’s leaders.
Why did they want to kill King James?
When Queen Elizabeth 1st took the throne of England she made some laws against the Roman Catholics.
Guy Fawkes was one of a small group of Catholics who felt that the government was treating Roman Catholics unfairly. They hoped that King James 1st would change the laws, but he didn’t.
Guy Fawkes was given the job to keep watch over the barrels of gunpowder and to light the fuse. On the morning of 5th November, soldiers discovered Guy hidden in the cellar and arrested him. The trail of gunpowder at his feet would never be lit.
Guy Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London. He was tortured and questioned about the other plotters. To start with he didn’t tell the soldiers anything about the plot. But, eventually he started to tell the truth.
In celebration of his survival, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on 5th November.