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Hey Guys! 5 Things You Might Not Know About Guy Fawkes
November 5, 2013
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"Remember, remember, the 5th of November; Gunpowder, treason and plot; I see no reason why gunpowder, treason; should ever be forgot."

Tonight, people across the U.K. will light fireworks and bonfires to commemorate the events of November 4 and 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes Night celebrates the capture of Fawkes, who was caught under the British Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder, fuses and matches, planning to blow up King James I and his entire Parliament. The plan was to assassinate the King and replace him with Princess Elizabeth, third in the line of succession and a Catholic. 

Fawkes's influence on pop culture continues to this day: a mask based on his face (like the one in the picture above) has become a symbol of the hacker collective Anonymous, after featuring in Alan Moore's comic book V For Vendetta and the 2006 film of the same name. 

Here are some things you might not know about Guy Fawkes and the annual celebration night: 

1. He Went By "Guido"

During the course of his life, Fawkes went by a couple of different names. One was "John Johnson," the pseudonym he used while he was working on the gunpowder plot.

Another was "Guido." He took on the name while fighting for Catholic Spain against the Dutch Republic in the Eighty Years' War. Guido was the Italian form of Guy. 

2. One Place In The U.K. Refuses To Celebrate Guy Fawkes Night

St. Peter's School in York does not celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. The reason? Fawkes was a student there, and the school will not burn his image out of respect for his time there. 

3. Fawkes Didn't Think Up The Gunpowder Plot

Although he's become the most famous member of the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament, Fawkes didn't originally think up the plan. The leader of the conspiracy was Robert Catesby, whom the BBC calls a "well-to-do gentleman of Warwickshire." Thomas Wintour approached Fawkes while he was fighting in Spain and drew him into the plot.

4. The Houses Of Parliament Are Still Searched Every November, Just In Case

Each November, before the state opening of the Houses of Parliament (which has happened annually since 1928), the Yeomen of the Guard searches the building. The idea? Make sure there is no modern-day Guy Fawkes hiding out anywhere. 

5. The Modern Word "Guy" Comes From Guy Fawkes

After Fawkes's capture, the tradition of "burning Guys" each November 5 began. People would create effigies of Fawkes, which were referred to as "Guys," and light them on fire. By the 1830s, the meaning of the term "guy" had shifted, as people used it to insult people wearing shabby clothes.

Eventually, the insult became a term of endearment, and by the 1920s, men were calling each other guy, which led to the pronoun as we know it today: a term you can use to refer to just about anyone. But it all started with that guy Guy Fawkes. 


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