The Hidden Meaning Behind November

The Hidden Meaning Behind November

+ November’s birthstones are Topaz and Citrine. Topaz symbolizes friendship and Citrine symbolizes the mind

+ Its birth flower is the Chrysanthemum

+ November has been designated “National Novel Writing Month” and “National Blog Posting Month”

+ November is National Pomegranate Month in the USA

+ All Saints Day is on 1st November. Christians remember all “men of goodwill” (saints) – great ones and forgotten ones – who have died through the ages

+ All Souls Day is on 2nd November. Christians remember all those who have died; not just the saints, but the ordinary men-in-the-street. Families visit graves with flowers on this day. In church, names of the dead may be read out on request. All Saints Day, together with All Souls Day, are collectively known as “Hallowtide”

+ Guy Fawkes (Bonfire night) is on 5th November

+ Armistice Day is on 11th November. People remember the millions who died in the two World Wars and other wars

+ St. Andrew’s Day is on 30th November. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland

The Story Behind Guy Fawkes

In November 1605, the infamous “Gunpowder Plot” took place.

When Queen Elizabeth the 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 the 1st would change the laws, but he didn’t.

Catholics had to practice their religion in secret. There were even fines for people who didn’t attend the Protestant church on Sunday or on holy days. James passed more laws against the Catholics when he became king.

A group of men led by Robert Catesby, plotted to kill King James and blow up the Houses of Parliament – the place where the laws that governed England were made.

The plot was simple; the next time Parliament was opened by King James, they would blow up everyone there with gunpowder. The men bought a house next door to the parliament building. The house had a cellar which went under the parliament building. They planned to put gunpowder under the house and blow up parliament and the king.

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. All of the men were then executed for treason.

In celebration of his survival, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on 5thNovember.

The event is still commemorated annually in England on 5th November by fireworks and burning ‘guys’ (effigies) on bonfires.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

The history of Guy Fawkes
Photo by Paul Sutton, Cape Town

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