A Penny for the Guy?

“Remember Remember the fifth of November..”  bigben


A poem regularly quoted in Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds on this day, often accompanied by that ridiculous V for Vendetta mask. As a Greycoat girl, who spent a large portion of her childhood in England, I often spend today abnging my head in to a wall and people run amuck quoting V for Vendetta. While the comic books and movie that drew from the famous plot that popularized Fawkes in the US are mildly enjoyable, they don’t come close to the truth of the historical figure.


Guy Fawkes was one of 13 members of the Gunpowder Plot, a plot aimed at removing Protestant  King James from the Throne and replacing him with someone more sypathetic to the Catholics. They planned on blowing up the House of Lords with gunpowder, but Fawkes was caught leaving the cellar where the gunpowder was stored and taken off to the Tower. There he was tortured, tried, and sentenced to death for his crimes. In the process, 7 of his co-conspirators were also caught by the British government. On January 31, 1606, Fawkes and 3 of his co-conspirators were to be drawn, quartered and hanged, however Fawkes lept to his death from the platform.


The Guy Fawkes night bonfires have been a tradition since that night in 1605, as a celebration of the King’s survival. It’s custom to burn an effigy in the fire (Often said to be Fawkes, historically it’s also been an image of the Pope) are burned in the fire- made by the children, who then took the effigy door to door to beg for money for their fire (I enjoy asking people for a”A Penny for teh Guy?”- the looks they give me are priceless). These days the effigy could be any popular or political figure, and the parties are accompanied by fireworks. It’s debated that the growing popularity of Halloween (not traditionally celebrated in the UK in the past) is starting to overshadow Bonfire Night, causing it lose its significance.


So light a fire, have a party, and please, for the love of god, remember that Guy Fawkes has nothing to do with Natalie Portman.

Long Live the Queen 😉


Photo Credit: UK Parliament

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.