Thursday, November 5, 2015

Guy Fawkes Day

Thursday, November 5, 2015
Guy Fawkes
Loretta reports:

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.”


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

You can read Susan/Isabella's Guy Fawkes Day (and Night) posts here and here.

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.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Hels said...

Guy Fawkes Night aka bonfire night was always my favourite holiday as a child. One huge bonfire was built in a park in every Australian suburb but each family lit their own fireworks.

Then in 1986 fireworks in private hands were banned across Australia and Guy Fawkes night was never a family event again :(

Yve said...

Ha haa, I bet no-one eve took any notice of the Beadle's Commandment! I've never heard it called Pope's Day, that's a new one on me. It's pretty much always referred to as Bonfire Night, but the old "Penny for the Guy" tradition (where children made an effigy of Guy and took it round the streets , often in a pram or a wheelbarrow, asking for money to buy fireworks and sparklers) is pretty rare now.I think most people's home bonfire still has some sort of Guy though (even if it's just a teddy with one of those Guy "V for Vendetta" masks!). I would say more back gardens have bonfires in them tonight than not, but the big community bonfires are usually at the weekend. It's 5pm and it's gotten dark, I just heard the first whizz and pop of a firework so I'm off out to eat hot dogs in a dark and rainy garden and go "oooohh" "ahhh" at the fireworks :o)

Vintage Maison said...

Every year, I try and explain to my French friends and neighbours all about Guy Fawkes, much to my dear OH's amusement. They still don't get it! Anyway, bonfires are totally banned in my part of France, so we don't celebrate anymore.

Which reminds me of the 4th of November. As a child growing up in Liverpool in the 1950s and 60s, 'Michief Night' was the night before Bonfire Night, when rivalling gangs of lads would try and either steal wooden toilet seats from outside loos to throw onto their bonfire, or, set fire to the opposing gang's bonfire in advance of the big day! I certainly remember my father hammering a nail into the toilet seat to prevent lads stealing it, and lads in our street out there all night in the frost, keeping guard over their huge pile of wood. Happy days...

Scrapiana said...

Echoing other clarifying comments, it's referred to here in Britain as 'Guy Fawkes Night', 'Bonfire Night' or even 'Firework Night' - because everything goes on after dark (which happens fairly early at this time of year: 4pm-ish) - but never 'Guy Fawkes Day'. Growing up here in an American family in the 1970s, Bonfire Night was the big occasion at this time of year, with Halloween a kind of faint Adventish prelude. The emphasis seems to have shifted (certainly commercially) though there are still large civic displays of fireworks, as well as a few of the back garden variety. I don't spot many garden bonfires these days - at least, not in Bath. I'm not sure about the rest of the country. Incidentally, the sad plight of our native hedgehog is partly blamed on gardeners not checking their Bonfire Night heaps for animal life before igniting them. Though tidy, well-fenced gardens also play their role in hedgehog decline. Poor old Mrs Tiggywinkle...

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