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Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

This weekend, celebrate treason, British-style. Nov. 5 is Bonfire Night, a tradition that dates back more than 400 years on the British Isles. The holiday commemorates Guy Fawkes, Britain's most infamous traitor, who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was caught, tortured and killed before he could kill England's king. The people of Britain celebrated by burning an effigy in the streets.

Every year on November 5, towns across Britain celebrate Fawkes' failure with fireworks and Bonfire Nights. American Anglophiles can attend regional bashes in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. Or you can throw your own jolly good Fawkesian party. Rent the 2005 movie V for Vendetta, the Wachowski brothers' updated version of Fawkes' follies starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. Throw a couple of bangers and mash (translation: sausage and potatoes) in the oven. If you have a grill, put foil-wrapped potatoes on the coals for about an hour, after which they'll be ready to eat. Finish up the evening with your favorite ale and a few toffees. That's bloody brilliant.

Melody Joy Kramer, is spending a year at NPR as part of the Joan B. Kroc Fellowship program. Her favorite British things include Mary Poppins, Eric Idle and Virginia Woolf.

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Melody Joy Kramer