What Is 'Guy Fawkes Day' (and Who Is Guy Fawkes)?

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The 5th of November is Britain’s Guy Fawkes Day—a nationalist vacation that memorializes a revolutionary group’s crippled to stroke up Parliament and bring down the government. But who was Guy Fawkes? And wherefore is determination a time successful his honor? Let’s explore.

Guy Fawkes 1605 “Gunpowder Plot”

Guy Fawkes was portion of a radical of 13 co-conspirators who orchestrated the Gunpowder Plot—a program to stroke up Britain’s Palace of Westminster, wherever Parliament meets, and assassinate King James I successful bid to reinstate a Catholic monarchy. The radical planted 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the palace, though experts are mixed connected what benignant of harm this would person done to the building.

The plot, which was acceptable for Nov. 5, was discovered, and Fawkes was captured, tortured, and sentenced to decease for treason, though helium really died by suicide moments earlier his execution. But adjacent though his sanction came to correspond the event, Fawkes wasn’t really the plot’s ringleader.

What’s that “Remember, remember, the 5th of November” poem?

John Milton’s 1626 poem “in Quintum Novembris” alluded to the Gunpowder Plot:

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I cognize of nary reason

Why the Gunpowder Treason

Should ever beryllium forgot.

You whitethorn person heard the operation archetypal successful the 2006 V for Vendetta film’s trailer (more connected wherefore successful a minute), but the poem is commonly recited during Britain’s modern Guy Fawkes Day celebrations, which typically see bonfires, straw effigies, and fireworks. Guards besides bash a symbolic hunt of the Palace of Westminster to cheque for arson threats.

Where person I seen that disguise before?

Guy Fawkes has made rather a fewer appearances successful popular culture. His essence was memorialized successful Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s 1988 graphic caller V for Vendetta, successful which the main quality is an anarchist revolutionary who wears a Fawkes disguise and plots to bring down a fictional fascist state. The communicative was adapted successful 2006 into a movie of the aforesaid sanction starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman.

The iconic Guy Fawkes mask from the comic has since been utilized arsenic a awesome by wide protests and anti-establishment movements. The hacktivist corporate “Anonymous” adopted the disguise astir the clip of the group’s 2008 attacks connected the Church of Scientology—supporters wore it during demonstrations crossed the country. The disguise was besides utilized by the Occupy Movement. While Guy Fawkes whitethorn erstwhile person been labeled a traitor oregon terrorist, helium (or astatine slightest the mask) present stands for enactment against authorities corruption oregon firm greed.

This communicative was primitively published successful November 2020 and was updated connected November 4, 2021 to conscionable Lifehacker benignant guidelines.