Guy Fawkes Day (and Night) will not be familiar to many U.S. readers. Following are a few hints, from Hone’s Every-Day Book, about the origin and the celebration, along with a delightful “corporation notice.”
POWDER PLOT, 1605
This is a great day in the calendar of the church of England: it is duly noticed by the almanacs, and kept as a holiday at the public offices. In the " Common Prayer Book," there is " A Form of Prayer with Thanksgiving, to be used yearly upon the Fifth day of November; for the happy deliverance of King James I., and the three Estates of England, from the most Traiterous and bloody-intended Massacre by Gunpowder: And also for the happy Arrival of His late Majesty (King William III.) on this Day, for the Deliverance of our Church and Nation.
There cannot be a better representation of "Guy Fawkes," as he is borne about the metropolis, " in effigy," on the fifth of November, every year, than the drawing to this article by Mr. Cruikshank. It is not to be expected that poor boys should be well informed as to Guy's history, or be particular about his costume. With them "Guy Fawkes-day," or, as they as often call it, " Pope-day," is a holiday, and as they reckon their year by their holidays, this, on account of its festivous enjoyment, is the greatest holiday of the season. They prepare long before hand, not "Guy," but the fuel wherewith he is to be burnt, and the fireworks to fling about at the burning: "the Guy" is the last thing thought of, "the bonfire" the first.
—William Hone, The Every-day Book (1827)
|Cruikshank, Guy Fawkes|
|Guy Fawkes notice|
Image at top: Guy Fawkes, print made by Rowney & Forster (active 1820–1822) after John Augustus Atkinson (1775–1831); aka The Fairs, (after 1821), courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.
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