Yes, 405 years ago today (well, tonight local time), Robert Catesby and a gang of fellow Catholics under his command tried to blow up the English Parliament and King James (James I of England and James VI of Scotland, to be precise). (Not exactly coincidentally, the king was Protestant.) Guy Fawkes was caught with the gunpowder in the House of Lords, and the plot foiled.
To this day, the English celebrate by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes, and just plain burning bonfires and setting off fireworks. Guy Fawkes Day is the closest thing the English have to a Fourth of July.
A few things to keep in mind:
- When thinking of doing something, ask yourself "Will anyone care about this next year, next month or even next week?" Some of the things that stress us out, everyone will forget about by tomorrow! Focus on things people will be talking about years from now.
- There's a reason it's not Robert Catesby Day. Catesby was nominally in charge, but Fawkes was the guy on the scene, doing what needed doing because he knew how to do it. (Fawkes had fought for a decade in the Spanish Netherlands helping to suppress the Dutch Revolt, so he could handle explosives.) Though he failed, his name lives on (albeit in infamy).