Two important events took place last week: Guy Fawkes Day in the United Kingdom and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election in America.
Guy Fawkes Night, which takes place annually on November 5th, commemorates King James I’s survival of the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605. Guy Fawkes was a leader of a group of English Catholics who had planned a conspiracy to kill the anti-Catholic English monarch, by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on November 6th, 1605. Before the regicide could be carried out, Fawkes was arrested, and soon after, many loyal English followers of James I celebrated their monarch by lighting bonfires. Over the years, Guy Fawkes Night has become a social commemoration, and the present-day ‘celebration’ includes bonfires and fireworks displays. On Guy Fawkes Night, a few friends from Georgetown and I watched fireworks from Calton Hill, which is east of the New Town in Edinburgh. From the hill, I saw larger displays of fireworks in the distance near Leith, and I also witnessed numerous students setting off their own fireworks and launching sky lanterns.
While a less violent and less rebellious event, the U.S. 2012 President Election on November 6th was another very important historical and political event.
Some Georgetown friends and I watched the live election results at Teviot, where the Edinburgh University North American Society hosted an Election Night Party.
On Election Night, I stayed up until 4:00 am at Teviot to watch CNN as the results of the electoral votes for each state were announced.
The atmosphere in Teviot was very exciting, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch the election results while being surrounded by passionate American college students and other students and faculty of the University of Edinburgh.