Guy Fawkes Day
November 5, 2005 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Remember, remember. Happy 400th Guy Fawkes Night to our British friends. Learn about the Gunpowder Plot and then put your knowledge to the test with the BBC's Guy Fawkes trivia... game... thingy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (27 comments total)
Thanks - I didn't realise it was a exactly 400 years ago... I'm in Canada at the moment, and explained to a few people that we don't make such a big deal out of Halloween, but we do let our children create effigies of an executed traitor, that they may reenact his death by fire ceremonially. Aaaaw. Sweet, no?

Also, there is usually pork pie and mushy peas. Good stuff.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2005

obligatory Oxford DNB Entry
posted by Chrischris at 3:00 PM on November 5, 2005

In fact the Oxford DNB has a whole feature devoted to the Gunpowder Plot; and there is also an online exhibition on the Houses of Parliament website.
posted by verstegan at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2005

It's 23:15 here in north London and fireworks have been going off constantly since around 6pm. I've never seen (or heard) it this bad. I'd like to put it down to the 400th anniversary blow-out but I doubt it. It's illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm but how you're meant to work out where it's coming from is anyone's guess.
posted by movilla at 3:16 PM on November 5, 2005

Drat. Just looked up that link I posted and it's midnight tonight.
posted by movilla at 3:18 PM on November 5, 2005

At least you still get to set off fireworks at all. Busybodies here in the US have had fireworks banned in many if not most places, so the Independence Day celebrations are getting kind of lame.
posted by litlnemo at 3:23 PM on November 5, 2005

It was loud tonight, wasn't it?

I always been told that the place to go is Lewes.

They burn a pope, there, apparantly.
posted by Grangousier at 3:26 PM on November 5, 2005

Any festival/holiday that's an excuse for burning and blowing stuff up is allright in my books.

Have fun everyone!
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:30 PM on November 5, 2005

A penny for the old guy-
posted by alex3005 at 3:35 PM on November 5, 2005

I'm fed up burning Catholics. Do Mormons light up as spectacularly?
posted by meehawl at 3:36 PM on November 5, 2005

On the way to the shops around 8pm I looked around and fireworks were going off in all directions, for miles around. There's a flightpath where I live and I guess it would have been interesting to watch it from a plane. London is alight tonight.
posted by movilla at 3:47 PM on November 5, 2005

It was very loud tonight! I went to the shop and the sky was fully adrift with white smoke.. real pea soup.

A lot of this years coverage of Guy Fawkes night has centered around comparisons with 7/7 and 9/11, "putting it in perspective," recreated CGI explosions, "blast maps" overlaid on maps of London, Guy Fawkes as a religious extremist, portentous mock news anchor narration... it's sad and slightly offensive. Especially as it never happened. I remember being captivated by the story of Guy Fawkes as a child, it was magical. Perhaps it needs to be Playstation-ised to capure the youth of today? I suppose they are all outdoors tying stray animals to catherine wheels anyway and some guy from pre-history can't be as exciting as maiming another living creature.
posted by fire&wings at 3:50 PM on November 5, 2005

Today is my birthday too! Too bad V for Vendetta isn't coming out today as originally scheduled...
posted by mrbill at 3:53 PM on November 5, 2005

I'm fed up burning Catholics. Do Mormons light up as spectacularly?

No, they don't contain alcohol.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:53 PM on November 5, 2005

There are some other celebrations going on as well. Diwali has just passed (I think) and I am sure I have heard mention of other religious celebrations.

London is such a hodge podge; it all kicks off.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2005

ITV with Richard Hammond did a 'what if' reconstruction of what could have happened if Guy Fawkes succeeded. Normally I don't watch ITV 'factual' programmes but I caught the 2nd part and it was really worth. I can't find a video from the show but as you can see from this, they blew the shit out of the reproduction house of lords.
posted by movilla at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2005

I don't exactly understand Guy Fawks day. It's almost like he's become a sort of anti-hero or something to you people. Does anyone actualy *hate* Guy Fawks?
posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on November 5, 2005

Don't ask me. I'm an Irish Catholic. And beside, we celebrate Halloween. Not the trick or treat style one though.
posted by movilla at 4:48 PM on November 5, 2005

The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related bonfires actually began the very same year as the failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between the 4th and 5th of November 1605. Already on the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the ritual became more elaborate.
posted by fire&wings at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2005

I'm fed up burning Catholics. Do Mormons light up as spectacularly?
No, they don't contain alcohol.

I heart MetaFilter. Damn, but we have some terrifically witty people here.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:06 PM on November 5, 2005

It's actually a secular tradition in my experience. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, going to catholic schools and we made 'guys' stuffed with paper and trolleyed around on old prams to beg a 'Penny for the Guy'. It was a great way to supplement the pocket money, and no parent or teacher ever intimated it was anti-catholic.

Indeed, it was only as an older teenager that I realised Guido Fawkes's treason had any connection to his religion.

These days, the connection to religion is even less. It's just good fun to see such a lot of show in the deep dark autumn.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:32 PM on November 5, 2005

Lewes is easily the best place to go for bonfire night - many different societies competing to have the best parade and firework display.

The night isn't just about the gunpowder plot though, it is mixed in with the burning of protestant martyrs in the 1500s. Although I think it only Cliffe who still burn the pope, the others are slightly more politically correct.

There is a little bit more about it all on the Wikipedia page for Lewes.

I would recommend anyone who gets the chance to come and see it once - and join in with the cries of "burn him".
posted by satisam at 6:01 PM on November 5, 2005

Glasgow's was really odd -- they'd be trailing it for weeks as the "biggest ever" and "choreographed". In the end, it just meant the big ones were timed to crashing rock chords. It looked like it cost them a fortune, but was unfocused and over-long. Made me want to get into fireworks as a business, just so i could do it properly.
posted by bonaldi at 7:06 PM on November 5, 2005

I had no clue how firework mad England is. In Birmingham we have had fireworks go off everynight for roughly the last month. Since Thursday it has been almost non-stop at night with some even being set off in the morning.

Not good for hangovers and particularly bad when you combine it with England's national birdsong, the car alarm, getting triggered by each and every explosion.

Pretty though.
posted by srboisvert at 2:19 AM on November 6, 2005

THere's nothing like a nice bit of hanging, drawing and quartering to iven up a dull morning.

Guido Fawkes was the lucky one in that respect - he was killed by the hanging, his other conspirators were still alive when they got to the second part of the execution...
posted by scaryduck at 7:19 AM on November 6, 2005

Guido Fawkes was the lucky one in that respect - he was killed by the hanging

True, true, but lets not forget that hanging at that time didn't involve a drop (which, in theory, breaks the neck and kills instantly), but, rather, being slowly strangled at the end of a rope. Better than having your guts pulled out, but still...
posted by Chrischris at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2005

although I am certain I read that after the torture he was so weak his neck broke immediately.
As an Irish woman I miss ducking for apples (with coins inserted!), and being blindfolded in a room with hanging bars of soap! Go figure.
I must admit when I moved here 4 years ago, It was the weirdest feeling when my little son came home from school one day reciting " Remeber, remember the 5th of November...."
posted by Wilder at 4:02 PM on November 6, 2005

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