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Guy Fawkes, The Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night
Guy and the Plot Today

Beyond Bonfire Night, Guy and the Gunpowder Plot have left a legacy.

Guy left his name for everyday use
Today, we use the word "guy" to mean "person" or "man", as in "that guy across the street". Although the Oxford English Dictionary won't vouch for this theory, many linguists and historians think that our use of the term in that way is from our friend Guy Fawkes.

It's difficult to trace the exact path of the word over the centuries, but it probably started by referring to the effigy of Fawkes that was thrown on top of the bonfire every November 5th as "a guy". Still today, as they walk down the street trying to collect money for fireworks, kids will ask for "a penny for the guy." From there, it's not a huge leap to talk about "a guy" as a living person. The use of the word would have grown from there.
The Opening of Parliament
Another tradition still observed by Britons is the annual visit of the Queen to Parliament every year. Ever since the Gunpowder Plot, the reigning monarch enters the Parliament only once a year, on what is called "the State Opening of Parliament". Prior to the Opening, and according to custom, the Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster. Today, the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.

No one really expects to find 36 barrels of gunpowder when our Yeomen undertake this task every year. But, just like most of us who like a good Bonfire Night, it's clear the Lords and MPs like a bit of a celebration, too.



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