Remember, remember the Fifth of November… It was this day in 1605 that Guy Fawkes and English Roman Catholics were caught conspiring to blow up the English Parliament and assassinate King James I.
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes and fellow conspirators stockpiled large sums of gunpowder underneath the English Parliament. They intended on unleashing a powerful explosion which would take down the Parliament building while King James I, Protestant, and even most Catholic, aristocracy and nobility were inside.
The aim of the plot was to displace Protestant rule and discrimination against English Roman Catholics. The conspiracy was uncovered just moments before the fuse was lit and Guy Fawkes was left holding the explosives. Robert Cecil who was chief spymaster to James I knew about the plot all along. He even helped the plot along with the purpose of exposing the traitors.
All of the Gunpowder conspirators including Guy Fawkes were put to death by hanging, drawing, or quartering. King James’ government ministers attempted to implicate the Catholic Church. They also went after the two Jesuit priests who had heard the conspirators’ last Confessions. One of the priests, Father Garnett, refused to break the seal of confessional and paid with his life.
King James I increased the persecution of Catholics and Guy Fawkes’ Day became a legal holiday. It was celebrated with fireworks, bonfires and the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes and often the pope. In 1859, the holiday was repealed. Today, November 5 is celebrated by fireworks and bonfires in the United Kingdom.
Anonymous Fifth of November
The Fifth of November is also an important date for Anonymous. The hacktivist group conducts operations and protests every year on this date.
Anonymous also pays tribute by wearing Guy Fawkes masks in their videos and protests. Writer Alan Moore and illustrator David Lloyd created the look for the Guy Fawkes mask in the comic V for Vendetta in 1982. The comic was further popularized by the movie sharing the same title in 2006. Since then, the mask has become a symbol of anonymity, and has been wholly embraced by Anonymous.