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Guy Fawkes mask

Of course you remember the fifth of November (it was yesterday), but for those in Great Britain the fifth has a different meaning.  That day is Guy Fawkes Day, a yearly commemoration of the arrest of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in 1605 after they filled the cellar of Parliament’s House of Lords with gun powder in an attempt on the life of King James I.  The failure of the plot, often known as “the Gunpowder Plot,” was turned into a national cause for celebration, and almost instantly declared a formal English holiday.

 the meaning behind fifth November

Today Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, concerts, parades, and sometimes the burning of a “Guy Fawkes effigy” created from old clothes and paper.  The 2005 thriller V for Vendetta shines a provocative light on the history of this holiday, the reasons behind the original gun powder plot, and the future implications of the British government’s decision to allow Fawkes to become the embodiment of treason and terrorism.  In the film, (starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving) title character “V” even hides his face behind a highly recognizable Guy Fawkes party mask as he carries out a restaging of the gunpowder plot in an attempt to overthrow the imagined fascist government of Britain’s future.

 celebrating Guy Fawkes Day with bonfires and fireworks

flame body jewelry

Since the movie’s release, the Guy Fawkes mask has become synonymous with revolution of all kinds, being worn by protestors in cities across Europe and even some Occupy members in the United States and Canada.  Due to the association of fires and fireworks, the fifth of November has also become one of the busiest nights of the year for fire departments around the globe.

showing United Kingdom pride

British flag body jewelry

fashion photography sourced via WGSN

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