Deadly Women (with Matt Fullerty)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night, UK and New Zealand


Guy Fawkes Night (often referred to as Bonfire Night) is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on November 5, or the closest Friday or Saturday night.

Until the nineteenth century there was a special Church of England service for this commemoration in the Book of Common Prayer. Guy Fawkes Day became a public holiday in 1606 when it was proclaimed by an Act of Parliament. In commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot on this day in 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his comrades tried to blow up King James I and the whole English Parliament, English people still burn a 'guy' in effigy.

Traditionally the guy's cap was made of paper and knotted with ribbon-like paper strips. The dummy carried matches in one hand and a dark lantern in the other. Children would go around the streets asking for money, saying “Please to remember the guy!” In 1850 in Britain there was a strong wave of anti-Catholic sentiment, and the guy was often in the likeness of the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster!

Happy Bonfire Night, England!

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