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In the eleventh month

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GUY FAWKES DAY: November 5.
GUY FAWKES DAY: November 5.

DR. SHRI NATH SAHAI

November is an interesting month with a lot of history behind it.

This eleventh month of the year was originally the ninth month of Roman year (Latin November noven, nine). In Britain, English children celebrated Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.

Celebrations

The story behind this event is interesting. King James I (1566-1625) reigned from 1603 to 1625. His discordant, inconsistent policy towards English Catholics angered them, causing them to form a group to retaliate and punish the king. They planned to blow up the English Parliament, along with the king. Among the rebels was Guy Fawkes. They collected 36 barrels of gunpowder, firewood, and iron-bars. However, the plot became known to the Parliament and failed. The schemers and conspirers including Guy Fawkes were arrested and gunpowder was recovered. People gathered on November 5 to celebrate the occasion by lighting a bonfire. This included the effigy of Guy Fawkes. Since then every year a figure of Guy Fawkes, made of straw and old clothes, is stuffed with firecrackers and burned as an effigy. And as a joyous remembrance, fireworks are also. Across the Atlantic, this month heralds the onset of autumn - the fall. In the erstwhile Soviet Union, people used to celebrate the anniversary of the Great October Revolution during this month. On November 11 at 11 a.m. a two-minute silence was observed, as this is the day when fighting ended in World War I and the actual time when the Armistice was signed with Germany. Wreaths of Flanders poppies were laid at the White Hall cenotaph to honour those who died in the war. This day was observed as Armistice Day from 1919 to 1945. After 1945, it began to be observed on the first or second Sunday of the month, and it was renamed 'Remembrance Sunday'. Then in 1956, it was decided that it would be observed on the second Sunday of the month.


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