Today, November 5th, we celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, a national holiday that commemorates a revolutionary group’s plot to blow up Parliament and bring down the government. It’s okay, honestly, for this celebration to fall right around Election Day in the US, especially this year, as we don’t even seem to need revolutionaries to bring our government to the brink of destruction

But who was Guy Fawkes, and why is there a day in his honor? Let’s explore

Guy Fawkes was one of a group of 13 co-conspirators who orchestrated the Gunpowder Plot – a plan to blow up the British Palace of Westminster, where Parliament meets, and assassinate King James I in order to restore a Catholic monarchy The group planted 36 barrels of gunpowder under the palace, although experts are mixed on what kind of damage it would have caused the building

The plot, which was set for November 5, was uncovered, and Fawkes was captured, tortured, and sentenced to death for treason, although he actually died by suicide moments before his execution

Even though his name came to represent the event, Fawkes was not actually the leader of the plot

You may have heard the phrase for the first time in the movie V trailer for Vendetta (more on that in a minute), but the poem is often recited in modern UK Day celebrations. Guy Fawkes, which typically include bonfires, straw effigies, and fireworks Guards are also carrying out a symbolic search of the Palace of Westminster to check for threats of arson

Guy Fawkes has made several appearances in pop culture His essence was commemorated in Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s 1988 graphic novel V for Vendetta, in which the main character is an anarchist revolutionary who wears a Fawkes mask and plot to bring down a fictitious fascist state The story was adapted in 2006 into a film of the same name starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman

The iconic Guy Fawkes mask from the comics has since been used as a symbol by mass protests and anti-establishment movements The hacktivist collective Anonymous adopted the mask around the time of the group’s 2008 attacks on the Church of Scientology – supporters wore it at protests across the country The mask was also used by the Occupy movement

While Guy Fawkes may once have been labeled a traitor or terrorist, he (or at least the mask) now represents action against government corruption or corporate greed

Because nothing says “anti-establishment” like plotting to assassinate a monarch to replace him with a different monarch

Guy Fawkes Day, Guy Fawkes

World News – UA – Who is Guy Fawkes?