Yes, Guy Fawkes Night - a couple of days ago but mostly celebrated at the weekend. Here's a few snaps I took of our local fireworks which started tonight at about 6.15 pm.
The story commemorates a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England. It still gets told to all schoolchildren, although the message is somewhat diluted. I don't think the symbolic burning of the Pope is still condoned, for example.
There's still the effigy of Guy Fawkes, which burns on most bonfires, but I suspect that the real ceremony goes back even further to Samhain and the start of the dark half of the year.
Here's the blood-curdling children's verse:
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!