The Most Unusual Traditions and Events in London (part 2)

Guy Fawkes Night

On November 5th every year, bonfires are lit in the country and scarecrow-like effigies of a man named Guy Fawkes are soaked in flames at the same time fireworks are illuminating the night sky.

The reason is that on that day of the year 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of his Catholic cronies reportedly plotted to blow up the Palace of Westminster when the State Opening of Parliament was held. They are said to have planned to kill Protestant King James I of England and Ireland, kidnap his daughter, Elizabeth, and install her on the throne, hoping that she would be a monarch sympathetic to the Catholics of the realm. As a result, Britons light bonfires in order to remind themselves not to be like Guy.

A decree from King Charles II admits that there is a requirement that at least six ravens is always kept at the Tower of London. Rumor has it that the law stemmed from a warning the king received in the courtyard, telling the king that if the Tower could not be abandoned by ravens, then the monarchy would collapse and Britain would fall.

Annual Sheep Drive Across London Bridge

Perhaps London Bridge is most widely known for its falling down, but every year in September, it becomes the place for a strange spectacle when a herd of sheep is driven across the bridge by the freemen of London. Somehow like sheep, Londoners with an agricultural influence flocked to the event. This is exactly the event: 2017 saw the wealth of the world and the presenter of The Great British Bake Off Mary Berry.

The Worshipful Company of Woolmen, one of the City’s Livery Companies – corporations and ancient and modern commercial organizations – has been around since the 11th century and is responsible for this whole issue. Nowadays, the event was held with the intention of promoting the wool industry, but in the past, traveling with sheep across the London Bridge was the norm as it was the only way to market it to the City. Learn more about the annual sheep drive in London.

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