It all started in 1605, when a group of Catholic men led by Robert Catesby plotted to blow up the Protestant dominant English parliament under the rule of King James. King James, successor to Elizabeth failed to restore the rights of Catholics in England who had been subjected to endless persecution under the rule of a queen who had been excommunicated by the Vatican for her ruthless reign.
Feeling failed and desperate the men sought to assassinate the “rogue” king, in hopes he would be replaced by his daughter Princess Elizabeth who was seen to hold the key to the salvation of England’s Catholic community.
The plot of course failed, after a warning letter, known as the Monteagle letter was sent to one of the Catholic members of parliament as a warning, asking him not to be present on the day of the explosion. Fawkes, who had been in the lower chambers of parliament a night before the plot was caught, tortured and executed.
Each year, in remembrance of this event effigies of Fawkes are burnt on the streets of England as a sort of celebration and victory of the state against the plotters. Children run around asking for “pennies for Guy”, later on using the money to purchase fireworks as part of the tradition.