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November 5th

Helen & Joe November 5th has always been a big day in my family, because it marks my parents' wedding anniversary. They tied the knot on November 5, 1955, which means today is their 55th. How amazing is that?! 

(Incidentally, November 5, 1955 is also the day that Marty McFly went back to in Back to the Future.)

But November 5th has additional historical significance, as I learned recently in a Boston Public Library newsletter: it marks the date of a major holiday formerly celebrated in Boston, Pope Night.

In the years prior to the American Revolution, this day was traditionally marked by political upheaval. Young men carrying "giant effigies of the Devil, the Pope, and current political scapegoats" paraded through the streets, harrassing passersby. At nightfall rival gangs from the North and South Ends brawled in the streets. It was the New World version of Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, which celebrated the November 5th anniversary of an attempted plot by Catholic conspirators to overthrow the Protestant King James.

According to historians,

"Part of the appeal of “Pope-Night” in New England, with its strict Puritan traditions, was that it allowed youths to go wild for one day—to make noise, demand money, and have a feast of their own. They could get away with that behavior on the 5th of November because it was patriotic disorder, aimed at the enemies of their country and religion."

Pope Night became an occasion to protest Crown officials, the epitome of the political movement that eventually led to the American Revolution (after which, the tradition died away).

So, whether you are celebrating an Anniversary, a moment in SciFi history, or your own political convictions, Happy November 5th.





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