Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.

Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. In the immediate aftermath of the arrest of Guy Fawkes, caught guarding a cache of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords, James's Council allowed the public to celebrate the king's survival with bonfires, so long as they were "without any danger or disorder".[1] This made 1605 the first year the plot's failure was celebrated.[2] Days before the surviving conspirators were executed, in January 1606 Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act 1605, commonly known as the "Thanksgiving Act". It was proposed by a Puritan Member of Parliament, Edward Montagu, who suggested that the king's apparent deliverance by divine intervention deserved some measure of official recognition, and kept 5 November free as a day of thanksgiving while in theory making attendance at Church mandatory.[3] A new form of service was also added to the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, for use on 5 November

Historians have often suggested that Guy Fawkes Day served as a Protestant replacement for the ancient Celtic and Nordic festivals of Samhain, pagan events that the church absorbed and transformed into All Hallow's Eve and All Souls' Day.

Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment

Settlers exported Guy Fawkes Night to overseas colonies, including some in North America, where it was known as Pope Day.

Since the release in 2006 of the film V for Vendetta, set in a dystopian United Kingdom, the use of the "Guy Fawkes" mask that appears in the film has become widespread internationally among anti-establishment protest groups. The illustrator of the comic books on which the film was based, David Lloyd, has stated that the character V decided "to adopt the persona and mission of Guy Fawkes – our great historical revolutionary".

The public ranked Fawkes 30th in the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons

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