Thursday, November 5, 2015

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November!

 Remember, remember the 5th of November!

 Today is Guy Fawkes Day, originating from the famous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when a group of conspirators tried to assassinate the Protestant King of England, James I. They failed, but came quite close to pulling it off. Hoping to replace James I with a Catholic royal, Guy Fawkes along with his cohorts set a cache of explosives beneath the House of Lords, hoping to set it off upon James' entrance. They were caught in the act, and the failure has been celebrated ever since, to one degree or the other. The first celebration anniversary was allowed as long as there wasn't any danger, or disorder. It became an official observance with the "Thanksgiving Act", proposed by Edward Montagu, a Puritan member of Parliament. The Church even added to England's Book of Common Prayer, a service for the 5th of November.  

The holiday had a ghoulish trend to it as effigies of the Pope or Guy himself were burned in the streets, and of course, there are some who go to great lengths to gain financially from the festival.  
In 1790, the Times in London reported instances of children "begging for money for Guy Faux" and a report in 1802, described how a "Set of idle fellows...with some horrid figure dressed up as a Guy Faux" were convicted of begging and receiving money and committed to prison".
The print above shows a bonfire celebration outside Windsor Castle in 1776.

For the good of the day, one might care to watch V for Vendetta, a graphic novel turned movie, loosely based on Guy. Fun stuff. I love the mask!

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