I celebrated Halloween by dressing up a new website about Pope Night in New England. Take a sneak peek if you want; it’s still a work in progress. My favorite detail newly added to the Pope Night saga I’ve already explored is how, after that pro-British, anti-Catholic holiday became politically incorrect in Revolutionary America, the rituals had so much appeal that people reinvented it as a way to attack Benedict Arnold.
This website will be launched like a skyrocket in conjunction with the Bostonian Society’s upcoming public lecture:
Bonfires, Effigies, and Brawls: Colonial Boston Celebrates Guy Fawkes’ DayFeel free to send feedback through the email address on the site. Just don’t get me upset enough to build an effigy, parade it around the house, and burn it.
Monday, November 5, 2007, 6:30 p.m.
Old State House
This event is free and open to the public
Remember, Remember the fifth of November... Every 5th of November the people of Britain celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes and his fellow Catholic conspirators to blow up the English Houses of Parliment on November 5, 1605.
In colonial Boston, the celebration was called Pope’s Day; on this day working people staged parades, bonfires, and other events to demonstrate their angry sentiments toward both Catholics and the British monarchy.
Prof. Brendan McConville of Boston University and Prof. Cynthia Van Zandt of the University of New Hampshire will explore how this once politically and religiously charged holiday rose and fell out of colonial practice.