Tag: Tradition

Foxy Fawkes

Ah…Springtide. Tis April 13 and the birthday of England’s infamous would-be assassin, Guy Fawkes. That is spelled with an “awkes” because nothing can ever be easy around here. Happy Birthday, Guy! What should we do to celebrate? Shall we blow something up with gunpowder or is that too cliche?

Sometimes following tradition is the only thing one can do. You can’t always think up something exciting and new. It is a lot easier putting up a Christmas tree than researching an ancient Winter festival of pagan culture and convincing the family to sacrifice one of your own before a roaring bonfire in order to please the Gods of Hunt and Harvest.

My mother once tried roast goose instead of the regular Butterball for Christmas dinner. Waterfowl produces so much more fat, what a mess, and all dark meat, to boot. So much for a Boxing Day turkey sandwich. See what happens when established practice unravels?

Murdering your fellow countrymen as a means of social change is not really a break with English tradition but you could argue that the birthday boy’s plan was a radical departure from quietly poisoning your first cousin to advance your career.

What do you suppose Mr. Fawkes would have done had he been successful and the royal family had all gone up in smoke, scraps and jewelry? Being British, he likely would have carried on in the same way England had done for years prior since “carrying on” is what the Brits do and that was all or most of what Fawkes knew.

I am speculating, of course, my knowledge of British history is scant and I hate doing research, but I would be willing to bet Guy would have installed himself as some sort of “New” king. Then there would have been a civil war between Fawkes’ Catholics and the Protestants loyal to the old crown; he couldn’t have executed all them with one blast.

And there you have it: a break with tradition would have led to calamity that served as an impetus to return to tradition. That is, if Guy Fawkes had succeeded. Well, happy birthday to you old boy. At least you gave it a shot. Most people do not. If it is any consolation, remember the British still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night every November because it is a tradition and no one celebrates King James I day.