5 November, anit-Catholicism, bonfire, Britain, Catholicism, Commonwealth Nations, effigy, England, execution, Fifth of November, fireworks, Great Britain, Guido Fawkes, Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes Day, Guy Fawkes Nigh, House of Lords, King James, King James Bible, New Zealand, Parliament, torture, V for Vendetta
If you’ve seen V for Vendetta, then you’re probably familiar with this poem:
Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason the Fifth of November
Should ever be forgot.
Today is 5 November, and here, as well as in Britain and other Commonwealth Nations, they’re celebrating Guy Fawkes Night – the night when the Gunpowder Plot was discovered and thwarted.
Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic (a rarity in the early 1600’s) involved in a plot to assassinate King James (a Protestant; King James Bible, anyone?) and blow up the House of Lords (known as the Gunpowder Plot). The plan was uncovered after a Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter warning him to stay away at the next congress of Parliament. Fawkes was found out and arrested. He gave a false name and refused to identify his fellow conspirators. After the subsequent torture, Fawkes signed a confession of his guilt, stood trial, and was sentenced to be executed by hanging. After his death, his body was drawn and quartered, and put on display as a warning to others with a rebellious political spirit.
Historically Guy Fawkes Night was commemorated to celebrate the saving of the King and Parliament. Effigies of Fawkes might be burned, parades marched, and silly masks worn; it was traditionally a day of much anti-Catholic sentiment throughout Britain and her colonies. In modern times, a 5 Nov. celebration typically involves bonfires, booze, fireworks, and “singing.”