November 5, 2013
You first saw this mask in the movie “V for Vendetta or perhaps in the comic strip written by Alan Moore. You’ve also seen these masks on YouTube videos worn by members of the group called “Anonymous”. They were also seen at the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Arab Spring. Known as Guy Fawkes masks and represent Guy Fawkes, the leader of the gun powder conspiracy.
In 1603, King James I took the throne in England. An avid Protestant, he began persecuting Catholics in the country. He forbid Catholics from practicing their religion. He punished Catholics who did not convert.
The Gunpowder Conspirators were a group of Catholics who sought to take action against the king. They plotted to blow up the British Houses of Parliament. They planned to do so, when the king and his supporters were in the buildings. Their plot was uncovered on November 5, 1605. Thirty six barrels of gunpowder were found in the basement of Parliament. Guy Fawkes, the leader of the conspiracy, was arrested and tortured until he confessed. He was arrested just as he was about to ignite the gunpowder.
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words “Remember, remember the 5th of November”
According to USA Today “The holiday is like Halloween meets Mardi Gras, and it’s a blazin’ good time. But tourists aren’t especially welcome”.
Guy Fawkes Day is also known as Gunpowder Day.
Remember, remember! The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason Why the Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot! Guy Fawkes and his companions Did the scheme contrive, To blow the King and Parliament All up alive. Threescore barrels, laid below, To prove old England’s overthrow. But, by God’s providence, him they catch, With a dark lantern, lighting a match! A stick and a stake For King James’s sake! If you won’t give me one, I’ll take two, The better for me, And the worse for you. A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope, A pint of beer to wash it down, And a jolly good fire to burn him. Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring! Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King! Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
The poem is sometimes referred to as ‘Please to remember the fifth of November’. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten.