We all know Santa but not many of us know there was a true St. Nicholas, in Greece, a couple of hundred years after Jesus’ birth. He would later become a Bishop in the Catholic Church and finally a Saint. He use to throw small bags of coins out his window for children to celebrate the coming of the holiday season. The bags resembled socks and are now represented by the hanging of stockings at Christmas. His identity was not turned into Santa until the early 1800’s in America. While Santa is not exactly the religious type, Saint Nicholas was. As a Cardinal he would have worn lots of red and he most likely had a beard in his later years.
How to celebrate – Learn about the real St. Nicholas. Discover who turns Santa fat! Visit Greece!
If you were a Catholic in 1603 England life got pretty rough for you. King James came into power and decided that the Catholic religion could no longer be practiced in the UK and there was a severe punishment to those who did. Most Catholics continued to practice but in silence and hiding in the shadows.
Guy Fawkes was a Catholic and took exception to the King’s commands. He Formed a secret group of believers and formed the Gunpowder Conspiracy in which they planned to blow up Parliament with some well placed barrels of gunpowder underneath the House of Commons. This is also known as Guy Fawkes Day.
The plan went well, the barrels were put in place and ready to be ignited when Parliament met. There was enough powder in place to not only blow up the Parliament, the House of Commons and probably the entire block.
The problem for Fawkes, and his followers, was that the secret was not all that much of a secret. The gunpowder was found, the conspirators captured and the whole plan foiled. Though it did come close to being completed, it did not come off with the bang expected.
Imagine if it had been successful. The King was visiting Parliament that day so the entire government in England would have been blown to kingdom come. The date was remembered, and now that religious freedom reigns again in the UK, it is celebrated with fireworks.
How to celebrate – Set off some fireworks of your own (please do this away from people who are not aware of the day). Wear a Guy Fawkes mask, which has become very popular. Visit a Catholic church.
King James the first was not fond of the Catholic religion in England. In fact, in 1603 he went to war against the Catholics trying to convert them or drive them out of the country. His methods were a bit over the top.
Guy Fawkes, a Catholic fought back the only way he knew how. (I always wondered where that mask came from) As a leader of the Catholic rebellion he decided, along with his followers that they had to strike back. It wasn’t just King that was a problem, it was the entire government so he created a way to get rid of all of them at once.
He planted 36 barrels of gunpowder under the parliament building and planned on blowing them all up on November 5th, 1605. He was caught while attempting to light the fuse (a trail of powder) and arrested. Under torture he confessed and was executed.
Today Guy Fawkes Day (Also known as gunpowder day) is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires. There is some question about what people are actually celebrating though. People are free in the UK to practice whatever religion they choose, so are they celebrating Guy Fawkes winning in the long run or, since Parliament survived and went on to pass laws against holding religion hostage are they celebrating the government? Either way, there are still fireworks which is ultimately what Guy Fawkes tried to set off.
How to celebrate – Go to England and celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. Read a book on the freedom fights for religion in the UK. Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in your backyard, but you might want to advise your neighbors and the local police about your intentions.