The Quick 10: Happy Belated Guy Fawkes Day!


I guess with all of the election stuff going on here in the States, we here at the _floss completely overlooked that yesterday was Guy Fawkes Day. While it may not be a huge celebration (or even a celebration at all) in the U.S., it's quite a big deal in Great Britain. It's also observed in certain parts of Canada, South Africa, the Caribbean and New Zealand). So, in at attempt to make it up to the late Mr. Fawkes, I thought we'd honor him (I suppose "honor" him would be more appropriate) with the Q10 today.

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1. First of all "“ why does Guy Fawkes deserve his own holiday? Well, in 1605, he was in charge of carrying out the Gunpowder Plot: he and his group of men conspired to kill the King, his family, and lots of other important people by blowing up the House of Lords. The plot was foiled. It's my understanding (I know you guys will correct me if I'm wrong) that the festivities are basically a mockery of Guy Fawkes and a celebration that the King was safe. Although there are certain factions of people who celebrate Fawkes himself, I'm sure.

2. In order to blow up the House of Lords while Parliament was meeting (thus taking out the most number of people possible), Guy Fawkes and his group hid more than 1,800 pounds of gunpowder underneath the building in the cellar. They hid it beneath various scraps of wood and iron.

3. Legend has it that the plan was foiled at the very last possible second "“ Guy Fawkes himself was just about to touch his torch to the gunpowder (he had made it quite clear that he didn't mind blowing himself up as well as the House of Lords) when magistrate Peter Heywood grabbed the torch.

4. Fawkes was severely tortured for his actions. At first he refused to give his name, insisting that he went by "John Johnson." The King instructed that the torture should get increasingly worse the longer Fawkes held out. It took four days before Fawkes admitted anything, and that was only after he found out his friends had already been captured.

5. Fawkes and his co-conspirators were ultimately all hanged, drawn and quartered for their crimes.

6. Anarchists love this guy: a famous poster in the mid-20th century declared that Guy Fawkes was "The only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions." But the phrase has been around for a long time "“ probably since the day after he was captured.

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8. Traditional food eaten on Guy Fawkes night include bonfire toffee, toffee apples, baked potatoes and black peas with vinegar. I get the bonfire toff and the baked potatoes, but black peas and toffee apples are beyond my comprehension. I bet one of you _flossy readers knows, though.

9. There are all kinds of rhymes and songs and poems based on Mr. Fawkes. I really like this one:

Guy guy guy Poke him in the eye, Put him on the bonfire, And there let him die.

It's the perfect rhyme for school children, don't you think? But it goes well with our final fact:

10. It's not uncommon for people to burn effigies of Guy Fawkes in giant bonfires. It used to be much more widely practiced, however. Kids also get to collect pennies for "the guy" "“ for his eyes, I presume?? It's kind of like trick-or-treating for UNICEF, except the kids get to keep the money.

So, happy belated Guy Fawkes Day. if you celebrated, leave us a comment and let us know what traditions you followed.