Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Andy Franklin

Guy Fawkes Night

The English are rather inclined not to partake in the mass celebration that drapes over America every year on July 4th. The celebration that is denoted for its exuberant and colorful display of fireworks illuminating the night is absent from the skies above my beloved home and rightly so… we lost! From this, an impertinent question would then be "so what do the English do with their annual stash of fireworks?" Well they light them up and let them off on November 5th, for November 5th is Guy Fawkes Night.

Guy Fawkes was one of 13 conspirators, that back in the 17th century England attempted to the destroy the houses of parliament along with the protestant King James and replace him with what they saw as a more favorable catholic monarch. It is commonly thought that that their devious plan was to dig a tunnel from a nearby house to go under the famous structure. When they were in the right location and with the king in residence the plan was to then set alight copious amounts of gunpowder that would ultimately take out the building and the protestant King. This act of antiquated political terrorism was therefore termed the Gunpowder plot.

Well the plan didn’t work; On the November 5th 1604 the King got wind of this dastardly crime and ordered his minions to investigate the cellars underneath Parliament. Any attempt of Guy Fawkes to deny participation in the plot were seemingly quelled by the fact he was found within those cellars accompanied by 28 barrels on gunpowder. In the physical struggle that preceded his capture and in a last ditch attempt to bring the plot to fruition, Fawkes threw his candle lit lantern against the barrels, however fortunately for the King the gunpowder did not alight.

The capture and subsequent torture of Guy Fawkes along with the Kings averted assassination was and continues to be celebrated every year. In addition to fireworks, the celebration takes on the form of big controlled bonfires from which on top is placed a flammable effigy of Guy Fawkes. This effigy is now interestingly become known as simply ‘the Guy’ from which is where the American term for a generic male is derived from.

Knowing that Americans don’t need too much of an excuse to throw a party, I thought I would offer this to you this coming weekend, Happy Guy Fawkes Night everybody!

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