“Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.” Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night and Firework Night is an annual commemoration observed on November 5th, primarily in Great Britain.
Its history begins with the events of November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.
Guy Fawkes imagery also appears very heavily in the classic graphic novel and subsequent film, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore. For more on Guy Fawkes Day, browse some of the fascinating articles about the history of this holiday in our Literati database from EBRPL’s Digital Library.