Monday, March 27, 2006

The 5th of November

This Week's Trivia: Guy Fawkes' Day, November 5

I just saw V for Vendetta this weekend and loved it. Of particular importance to the plot was Guy Fawkes and his role in British history. I had heard of Guy Fawkes' Day being a holiday celebrated there, but didn't know much more beyond that. So, here's some info I dug up from

In 1605, a person named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the British Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He, and his band of fellow conspirators, were caught after one of the group sent a letter to King James of England warning him to stay away from Parliament. Guy Fawkes was imprisoned and eventually put to death for his trouble, although modern British people remember him as "the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions!"

Nowadays, the British mark Guy Fawkes' Day (or simply Bonfire Night) by building bonfires and letting off fireworks. Traditionally, children made effigies of Fawkes from old clothes stuffed with newspaper, and display their "Guy" in the streets, asking "Penny for the Guy?", and expecting to receive some money. Guys were then thrown on the bonfire at the height of the celebrations.

Big firework displays are organised in public playing fields and open areas, usually with huge bonfires. The bonfires often take weeks to build, and in small communities and villages everyone will bring some wood to add to the pile.

The events of 1605 are also remembered in a nursery rhyme.

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."


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