Friday, November 4, 2011

Guy Fawkes Day

By Diane Forrest,

On September 17, 2011 a protest began in New York called Occupy Wall Street (OWS).  Several of the protestors didn't wish to be recognized so they wore masks to hide their identity.  The above picture was taken at one of the OWS rally’s in Paris.  Now you may think that the mask is just funny Halloween mask or something from a cartoon or movie, but it is actually the likeness of Guy Fawkes.

Now you are saying. Well who is Guy Fawkes?  Guy Fawkes was a man born in 1504 in England.  When he was a young boy his father died.  After several years his mother remarried a Catholic man.  This marriage changed his life, and could have even changed history.  Guy was sent to Catholic school, and when he graduated he became a soldier, fighting in the 80 years war and other wars.  He had left England for a while, and when he returned he met up with Robert Catsby who was plotting to assassinate the King.  The king, King James I was a Protestant ruler, instead of Catholic, like his predecessors.  Their goal was to eliminate the king, and have his daughter, who was Catholic, reign.

They had assembled a stockpile of gun powder and placed it under the House of Lords.  There was a pile of wood beside the gunpowder, and it was Guy's job to guard it during the night, and then ignite it the next day not only killing the king and queen, but blowing up the House of Lords and all its members.

Before the plot, known as the Gunpowder Plot, was discovered, and Guy Fawkes along with his co-conspirators were captured before completing the deadly deed.  He was to be hung drawn and quartered, the punishment at the time for treason where the criminal was hanged until almost dead, then sliced down the center having their entrails removed, then beheaded and removing all limbs and displaying them to deter others from acts of treason.  However, as he was climbing the steps to the gallows, he jumped off the scaffold, breaking his neck and thus saving him from the disembowelment.

Guy Fawkes became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in England since 5 November 1605. His effigy is often burned on a bonfire, commonly accompanied by a firework display, and King James I was saved, and went on later to sponsor the King James Version of the Bible.

Today is Guy Fawkes Day, it is only celebrated in England.  They celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes by burning his likeness in bon fires and having firework displays.

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