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Happy Guy Fawkes Night

guy fawkes night Happy Guy Fawkes Night

Ten years ago today, when I was still single, I threw a party for about 20 of my friends in my studio apartment. It was November 5th, 1999. On a shoestring budget, I had an assortment of sausage rolls and poppadoms available for people to eat and plenty of bottles of beer to wash the food down.

Then the big announcement came. I told everyone that they were there to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, a traditional British celebration held every November 5th. I explained how it marked the downfall of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in London.

However, there was a big problem. No one believed me. Not one single person. They all thought I had made it up. And they all thought that “Guy Fawkes” was slang for “Guy F**ks.”

I’ll never forget the night especially because it was the first time that a girl named Debbie, who I had met on an indoor soccer field a few weeks prior, and I dated. She is now my wife and we have three wonderful children.

From growing up in Wales until aged 14, I vividly remembered that Guy Fawkes Night was a big deal. Every November 5th night, the entire town would gather in one field and stand around a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes that sat on top of piles of wood that towered above us as we all stood and ate and drank around it. There were some fireworks too. We celebrated Halloween but it was a much less important and less celebrated holiday where I grew up. Guy Fawkes was it. Seeing a burning effigy of a man made out of straw and paper mache leaves quite a vivid impression on a young child.

Sadly when I moved to the States, my family never celebrated Guy Fawkes again until I had the one-off party in 1999. Again, no one believed me but they still remember that fun party and the crazy story that “I made up.”

Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful Guy Fawkes night. And feel free to post your memories of the day below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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17 Responses to Happy Guy Fawkes Night

  1. Marc says:

    “Remember, remember the fifth of November,
    The gunpowder treason and plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why the gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot.”
    Never heard of Guy Fawkes until I read V for Vendetta 8 years ago or so. Its amazing on how much I was never taught in High School or College. What a waste of time that was.

    • Dave says:

      Indeed. The success of the V for Vendetta film probably did more to promote Guy Fawkes night than anything else in America. (I read the book first, too. Alan Moore does good work.)

  2. Matilda says:

    Great story Gaffer!
    Did you ever read the Paddington Bear books? I seem to remember a funny Guy Fawkes story somewhere in there. Happy Guy Fawkes

  3. Gaz says:

    My favorite holiday that isn’t celebrated over here is Boxing Day. It’s a good excuse to eat more food and drink more beer (and lots of football makes it extra special).

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree! And good news, this year Boxing Day is on a Saturday which means I’ll be able to celebrate it in style instead of it being on a weekday when I have to work.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  4. ovalball says:

    Gaffer,

    Always glad to have one of your “Why not?” posts. They keep things interesting.

    Guy Robert (no holiday, yet)

  5. Alex Caulfield says:

    You’re not alone in this one Gaffer, I have had several people look at me strangely today when I tried to explain the implications of November 5th. Even in Seattle, as city stuffed with English expats, Guy Fawkes is less known than Guy Ritchie.

  6. Steven Compton says:

    My son is visiting England and celebrated Guy Fawkes night earlier today with some gracious hosts from Banbury.

    We visited England this summer for the first time and had a blast.

    Take care and Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

    Steve

  7. CE says:

    let me see if i understand this

    you are surprised that a ENGLISH holiday is not known in the US?
    Next thing you will tell me is you are surprised that the Japanese don’t know much about Minor American Holidays

    Also Gaz-Canada has Boxing Day

  8. lu says:

    Here we’re going for it this year – a few days late, but we’re having fireworks, sausages, baked potatoes etc. all in a bid to let the kids in on a bit of Brit fun, and us enjoy some beers.

    Cheers

    p.s. there’s nothing minor about fireworks night!

  9. courtney says:

    hey if you wanna see a bonnfire yu should come to the mighty east belfast northern ireland on the 11th of july you tube it then to top it off the glorious 12th with loads of flute bands amazing makes you fell realy proud to be a prod (protestant) over n out
    …….for god and ulster…….

  10. Not a Family Guy says:

    Thank god for V for Vendetta.

    When I mentioned that film, pretty much everyone had seen it. So I was then able to say that it’s based on Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot, and people became more interested in Guy Fawkes etc.

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