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Today, Guy Fawkes Day — also known as Bonfire Night — is marked across the United Kingdom by celebrations. To foot the bill for the traditional fireworks, children roam the streets in the days leading up to the event, brandishing their effigies — known as "Guys" — and ask passers-by for a "penny for the guy." (The phrase famously serves as the second epigraph to T.S. Eliot's 1927 meditation on despair, "The Hollow Men.") Families gather for food and festivities that might seem incongruous with the event's bloody origins — although perhaps not as incongruous as lighting fireworks and bonfires to celebrate an abortive attempt at arson.
In recent years, Fawkes' legacy has broadened. He provided the inspiration for the tile character in the Wachowski brothers' V for Vendetta, in which a masked crusader embarks on a terrorist campaign against a totalitarian British dystopia.
From the Wiki link sited : The plot itself may have been occasioned by the realisation by Protestant authorities and Catholic recusants that the Kingdom of Spain was in far too much debt and fighting too many wars to assist Catholics in Britain. Any possibility of toleration by Great Britain was removed at the Hampton Court conference in 1604 when King James I attacked both extreme Puritans and Catholics. The plotters realised that no outside help would be forthcoming unless they took action themselves
Originally posted by budski
edit to add - I haven't seen kids doing "penny for the guy" for years now, and nor have I seen effigies of guy fawkes for many years.
These days it's more of an excuse for a party and some fireworks.
[edit on 6/11/2008 by budski]
Remembering someone who was going to kill a bunch of people then sell the country out to the Spanish? Nice guy!
what's funny, and not surprising, is that the government's intention of observing Guy Fawkes day is to celebrate that the plot was foiled, not that he took a stand against tyranny. The government made Fawkes out to be a villain and wanted everyone to remember that a stand against the government and the Queen is morally wrong and will be stopped, and it seems like this is how the majority of people ended up viewing the event for many years...
He wanted to overthrow an elected government and kill the king because his minority wanted a different set of values imposed on the rest of the country, and to do this he relied on foreign governments and their agents opposed to the protestant religion in England.
I haven't seen kids doing "penny for the guy" for years now, and nor have I seen effigies of guy fawkes for many years.