Remember Remember the 5th of November: Guy Fawkes Day
Remember Remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder, treaon
Should ever be forgot...
(Remember Remember the fifth of november poem)
November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day - a day to mark the failed 1605 plot to blow up King James and the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder. Four centuries later, Guy Fawkes has a legendary status (the lead character in V for Vendetta for example is modeled after him), but at the time he was caught, he was tortured, executed and Britons mostly still celebrate his downfall by buring 'Guys' on bonfires and setting off fireworks.
One of the ironies of Fawkes' legacy is that he was a late addition to the infamous "Gunpowder Plot." Born a Protestant in 1570, Fawkes enlisted in the Spanish army in the Netherlands around 1593, shortly after converting to Catholicism. Co-conspirators Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy and John Wright enlisted Fawkes as a ringer, reasoning that his military skills — he had participated in the 1595 capture of Calais, France — and his anonymity as a foreign soldier made him an ideal candidate to help execute their plan.
Fawkes' henchmen were zealous Catholics who believed that by beheading the government, they might usher in a new era of Catholicism in Protestant England. Led by Catesby, they hatched a plan to explode gunpowder under Parliament during a state opening, when King James I, his queen, and other family members and government leaders were inside. The plot was set for Nov. 5, 1605, and in the preceding days, the conspirators rented a cellar underneath the building, where Fawkes stashed at least 20 barrels of gunpowder.
When Guy Fawkes was caught, he was tortured, and gave up the names of his co-conspirators, Some of them confessed, but others, like Fawkes, went to trial, but were found guilty and in January 1606, the rest of the men, including Fawkes were hung, drawn and quartered and November 5th became a day of celebration.
Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night is traditional in the sense that children still build 'Guys', dress them up, take them around the streets and ask for money for them. Later they will burn that man on a bonfire while they watch on happily.
In recent years, Fawkes' legacy has broadened. He provided the inspiration for the tile character in the Wachowski brothers' V for Vendetta, in which a masked crusader embarks on a terrorist campaign against a totalitarian British dystopia.