Please explain "Guy Fawkes Day" to me

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jason L., Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    NOTE: LET'S TRY AND AVOID RELIGOUS DISCUSSION HERE

    OK, I read about him, the Gunpowder Plot, and James I.

    I can't understand:

    1. Why this is even celebrated at all? Is this a national holiday? Is it only celebrated in England? Do people get the day off? What goes on during this day?
    2. Is this a Protestant Holiday that celebrates a "victory" over the Catholics? If so, this seems very weak. Weren't there tons of plots against Elizabeth I?
    3. Is this a Catholic Holiday that celebrates Guy Fawkes as a martyr? If so, this seems rather weak considering that he was basically committing a terrorist act - and it failed.
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Try this link http://www.bonefire.org/guy/

    I have many fond memories of Bonfire night when growing up in England. Its not only celebrated in England but also in some locations in some of the "colonies" (ex. a few communities in Newfoundland, Canada). Typically from what I recall the event surrounds a large bonfire typically with a scarecrow like guy on top that's supposed to represent Guy Fawkes. As for the history read the background info in the link above as it will help fill in the gaps.
     
  3. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    It's an excuse to light big bonfires and set off loads of fireworks. Any historical meaning has been so lost over the years nobody really cares anymore.

    I think it was supposed to be a 'celebration' of the execution of Fawkes following his attempt at blowing up Parliament.
     
  4. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    I grew up in one! My friends and I would just use it as an excuse to find some women, go off and get drunk around a big fire, where normally that would attract the attention of the police.
     
  5. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    That sounds about right Scott [​IMG]

    Bonfire night marks the anniversary of the day we moved out to Canada. It'll be 20 years on the 5th!
     
  6. RobertMc

    RobertMc Agent

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    I grew up in New Zealand and it was ALWAYS a big night for kids - firecrackers and sparklers and bonfires! I think that although most people knew it was called "Guy Fawkes Night", not many actually knew or know the actual story or whose victory or death was being celebrated...

    I think that because of various injuries to kids over the years, the access to fireworks has been restricted, so it probably isn't the celebration it used to be.

    I live in Australia now and I don't think that it has ever been a big celebration over here. Certainly nowdays it doesn't rate at all, which is probably a good thing considering that most Australian states have total fire bans in place by the end of October because of bushfire risk!

    Not to be anti-USA or anything, but Australia seems to have lost (or is rapidly losing) its own cultural identity and the media and marketers tell us that we now have to celebrate Haloween, which is a festival which has never traditionally meant anything to us. I guess it is just another way for them to make some money from the kids...

    Anyway, for those celebrating either one, happy Haloween & Guy Fawkes Day!

    Rob
     
  7. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Thanks for an interesting thread. Never heard of this tradition/holiday, you learn something new every day !
     
  8. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Nevermind. Bad joke deleted. [​IMG]
     
  9. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    This is the day rather oddly referred to by John Lennon at the end of the song Remember on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

    "Remember, remember the Fifth of November (followed by explosion [​IMG])"
     
  10. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Funny, we just covered the Guy Fawkes plot in my Tudor-Stuart English History class last week. I never get enough sleep though, so my memory of the day is a little fuzzy. I seem to remember that there was an ulterior political motive for declaring it a holiday beyond just that the plot was stopped. If I remember I will ask my professor about it on Wednesday.
     
  11. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Dave there's a long explination on that on the link I posted above. Interesting reading and very plausable.
     
  12. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Knowing nothing about Guy Fawkes Day, I ran across it when I was trying to figure out why JK Rowling named the seemingly important Pheonix in the Harry Potter series Fawkes. Rowling notoriously has reasons for most of her characters, and since she is British, and Guy Fawkes must be the most famous Fawkes, I figure it has to have a connection. But the pheonix is hero-like and Fawkes to the British seems closer to a traitor - so I'm confused. Do any of you with more of a cultural background than I have any suggestions? (I realize this is a slight hijacking of the thread; if I've crossed the line I apoligize.)
     
  13. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Al.Anderson, "traitor"? I guess it depends on whose side you're on. According to Andrew Pratt's Link he wasn't acting along and had some supporters. Guy Fawkes just happen to get caught, punished and executed. But it's not like he was alone. I would imagine 36 barrels of gunpowder would be hard to drag down below parliament by himself. But only Guy apparently got caught. In a way it kind of sounds a little romantic, like the little bit in all of us who have a distrust in authority/government. The article even jokingly mentions that:


    So, even though his act is an act of terrorism, it's distant enough for people to associate with it with some levity.

    Jay
     
  14. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    "traitor" - well, yeah. I figure if they celebrate his torture and execution, they've got to not like him very much. If you were on his side I wouldn't think it would be a party, it would be more of a solemn event.
     
  15. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Surely, since they failed, Guy Fawkes is considered a "traitor". History is written by the victors and all that stuff. [​IMG] The victors, meaning the Parliament and government would certainly throw a party after capturing and executing the leader of a group that just tried to kill you. I would probably do the same thing, perhaps not to the extent of the "bonfire night" but hey, I would be happy to have lived too.

    Jay
     
  16. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I asked my Tudor/Stuart teacher why they decided to make it a holiday. He said, of course they were happy that the plot was foiled, but also, since the country had been ostenibly converted to Protestantism, some Catholic events/holidays had been gotten rid of.

    So part of it might have been that it was a good excuse to make a fun holiday, and after a few years it became too entrenched to get rid of.
     

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