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Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot…
As kids we would build a image of Guy Fawkes and then put him in a wheel barrow, Go Kart or a pram and have a cup or tin with “Penny For the guy” written on it and we would collect a few quid to be able to buy fireworks for the evening, you made the bonfire as high as you could and then placed the Guy on the Bonfire and then it was time to light it and the fireworks, as well as have jacket potatoes, Warm soups and enjoy the crackle of the fire and the sound of the air bomb repeaters as they exploded in the sky.
As kids, we would let off fireworks, either at home or, more fun was out with your mates. “Quick- Run”
If you’ve seen “V for Vendetta,” you’re well acquainted with the rhyme about Guy Fawkes, who famously tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605. But more than 400 years later, the real-life revolutionary is still remembered today with “Bonfire Night,” also known as Guy Fawkes Night (or Guy Fawkes Day) in the UK.
Why? Why do we need to remember the 5th? And why has Fawkes’ face been used as a mask in a movie, or appropriated by the hacker group known as Anonymous?
According to The Telegraph, Fawkes was caught trying to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder into a cellar of the House of Lords in an attempt to completely destroy the building. He was part of a group of Roman Catholic activists attempting to kill King James I, a Protestant, after 45 years of perceived persecution under Queen Elizabeth.
According to Business Insider, a politician tipped off authorities to the Gunpowder Plot and Fawkes was caught in the act. He was interrogated (and likely tortured) at the Tower of London until he gave up his co-conspirators — eight days later.
Fawkes was reportedly hanged, drawn, and quartered for his crimes, with his remains sent to the four corners of the kingdom as a warning to anyone else who tried the same.
The Independent describes Bonfire Night as a celebration of the foiling of Fawkes’ assassination attempt. In 1605, when word spread, the public lit bonfires around London, and the tradition continues today with bonfires, fireworks and the burning of Fawkes in effigy. However, others believe some use the day to honor the failed attempt to murder the royal family.
In the Wachowskis’ 2005 film “V for Vendetta” (and the ’80s graphic novel of the same name), a freedom fighter named “V” (Hugo Weaving) wears a Fawkes mask while rallying support (from Natalie Portman and others) in an attempt to overthrow a futuristic British tyranny.
“Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished,” the character alliteratively explains of his decision to wear the mask. “However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.”
Fawkesian masks have since become a symbol of the “post-modern protest,” according to the Economist. “Hacktivist” group Anonymous rose to worldwide fame in 2008 when it targeted the Church of Scientology’s website while members wore Fawkes masks in online videos.
The Economist reports Anonymous chose the mask for two reasons: To protect their identities (and remain “anonymous”) and because of the final scene in “V for Vendetta,” in which (spoiler alert) a large crowd of people wearing Fawkes masks watch Parliament successfully blown up.
The mask has also been worn by Occupy protestors and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and continues to be a popular Halloween costume today. In short, few have forgotten Fawkes — even if they don’t necessarily know of the Gunpowder Plot.
This is what we do back home on this day-evening.
If you ever get to the UK at this time of year, head down to LEWES as its the best there is in tradition, with up to 60,000 people attending.
You can make this such a fun family affair by making great food to eat on this special celebration.
Have a nice Chocolate Flake Bonfire cake.
Good old Toffee Apples.
Bonfire cup Cakes.
Hot Chestnuts, used to love buying them from guy in Oxford Street.
Good old jacket potatoes.
You used to throw your potato in the Bonfire and it tasted awesome.
Have a safe ,but Fun Fireworks night to you all.