Happy Guy Fawkes day everyone! Well…maybe you don’t care unless you’re about 400 years old or live in England or are super religious and take part in the Catholic following for celebrating the king’s apparent deliverance by divine intervention…
anyhoo…here are 5 Things To Know for Guy Fawkes Day:
1. Guy Fawkes joined a group of English Catholics and attempted to plant gunpowder in the cellar of the Palace of Westminister in 1605, planning to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament. He was discovered by Thomas Knyvett, the keeper of the Whitehall Palace on November 5. He found Guy (who was posing as John Johnson), along with about 900 kg of gunpowder. The group he was involved with was planning to assassinate the Protestant King James.
2. The holiday was celebrated by fireworks because those in London were encouraged to celebrate the safety of the king by lighting fires. The celebrations were actually repealed in 1859. The celebration has become less and less each year, but many have fireworks to remember the Gunpowder plot.
3. Those who searched the palace actually found out about the assassination plan from an anonymous letter!
4. “Remember, Remember, the fifth of November” is the line from a poem that took on the nature of a nursery rhyme. Here is the full verse:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
5. V for Vendetta is based on Alan Moore‘s comic book series, which became popular with a mask styled like the one Guy was wearing.
One more interesting tidbit: Fawkes and his surviving co-conspirators were all found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death in January 1606 by hanging, drawing and quartering, ummm ouch. A Jesuit priest was also executed a few months later for his alleged involvement, even as new laws banned Catholics from voting in elections, practicing law or serving in the military. In fact, Catholics were not fully emancipated in England until the 19th century.
So here’s to another reason to celebrate!