Saturday, November 5, 2011


Extra Muse
Thumbnail for version as of 19:39, 28 May 2010

The Writers Almanac Today
It's Guy Fawkes Day
 Bonfire Night, in the United Kingdom
"It commemorates the failure of conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
At issue was the anger of Roman Catholics toward King James I, who refused to extend religious tolerance to the Catholics.
The conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, planned to target Parliament
at its opening ceremony, thereby killing the king and queen
and clearing the way for a new era of Catholicism in England.
Someone tipped off the authorities, and one of the conspirators,
Guy Fawkes, was caught red-handed stashing explosives in the cellar
on the night before the planned attack. Fawkes was tortured, tried, convicted, and executed for treason,
along with any other conspirators who weren't killed
when they resisted arrest.
The first observation of Guy Fawkes Day took place that same year,
when bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the king,
and has been going on ever since.
It features fireworks, to represent the explosives,
and bonfires, at which Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy.
The Yeomen of the Guard also perform
a ceremonial search of the Parliament buildings.
Children carry the effigies around town for several days
prior to the bonfire, asking passersby for
"a penny for the Guy."
They use their collection to buy fireworks.
Ironically, Guy Fawkes was really just a peripheral figure
to the conspiracy. Born a Protestant in 1570,
he had converted to Catholicism when he was 23.
Catesby and the other leaders of the plot recruited Fawkes
because he was a military man,
and they thought his experience would serve them well.
He was nowhere near the mastermind
that tradition has made him out to be.


1 comment:

MulticoloredPieces said...

You do come up with the most interesting bits cultural and historical tidbits. Liked your post about women heroines in sitcoms as well. Lucille Ball is a favorite.
best, nadia