# Guy Fawkes

Folklore:

“Ok so in around the 1580s the King of England was on the throne —I think it was King James— and this man called Guy Fawkes was a protestant who was leading a revolt against the king because treatment of the Catholics. They filled the cellars with gunpowder to destroy the parliament, but they were discovered and caught before they could light the powder. He was hung, drawn, and quartered. They hung him by the neck and cut his chest and stomach. So now, every November 15th, England celebrates the attempted murder of the King with the Guy Fawkes Festival of mainly fireworks to recreate what would have happened.

Even in France we celebrate Guy Fawkes, there are fireworks all night, and people get together and party. As a kid we would go to the countryside and all of the families would go to this big field and the parents would light a bunch of fireworks. There is food and music and drinking (we French will take any reason to drink haha) and it was one of my favorite celebrations as a kid. When I learned that the man we are celebrating was hung, it was kind of bittersweet. It is a fun day but a sad story”

Context:

CD is a French woman in her early 20s. She was born and raised in Paris (and lives there now) but her family is originally from England. In her family, because of their British roots, Guy Fawkes is one of her family’s main celebrated holidays. Every year, her uncle who grew up in England taught her the history of the holiday.

Analysis:

This Festival is different from traditional folk festivals as, aside from the fact that it happens yearly, it does not commemorate a change of sorts. Instead it is in remembrance of a significant event in the cultures history. It uses symbolism, in this case the fireworks, to represent the revolution and celebrates the cultural ideals and passing on their history.

# Paris Point 0

Informant: There’s like, France. The x. The zero. Something zero.

Collector: Point zero?

SC: Point zero, yeah. In front of the…Notre Dame. And I have never stepped on it, but I have been to Paris multiple times.

MR: I’ve only been to Paris once, and I didn’t step on it.

Informant is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is studying Narrative Studies and plans to have a minor in Songwriting. She is from a suburb outside of Chicago, Illinois. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

This is something I’ve heard about from multiple people and have read about in books. There seems to be a connection between some part of great cities and either returning to the city or having a wish come true. This is a kind of combination of superstitions and rituals and just might subconsciously influence people to return to the city. I can see a similar type of thing with the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, where if you toss a coin and make a wish the wish will come true. These old cities seem to have a type of magic to them which attracts you to return or fulfill a wish.

# Abdul-Beha looses his pants in Paris

In the following, my informant recalls a childhood story which he still remembers and finds significant:

This next account is one that comes from Baha’i tradition, more so in the Baha’i faith, which was founded in the mid eighteen hundreds by our prophet founder Bahá’u’lláh, you can Google that, it means “glory of god,” um, he founded the Baha’i faith, and uh, Baha’i all around the world look to this figure, the son of Bahá’u’lláh, his name is Abdul-Beha, it means servant of god, and Abdul-Beha for Baha’i all around the world, his title is “the perfect example,” so there are many stories of his life recorded, and it’s very common to tell children stories of his life as an example of a perfect example, and how one should emulate their life by him. A story that stuck out to me that was told when I was a child was: One day Abdul-Beha was walking in the streets of Paris. He was walking in the streets of Paris and – I’m gonna fast forward, he answers the home of one of the Baha’i who was hosting him, and he has a cloak wrapped around himself, he’s laughing very heartily, he comes in in a kind of strange way – why is he laughing? all this stuff, they ask him why he’s laughing, and he pulls the robe up a little bit and they see that he’s not wearing any pants, his pants are gone, and they ask him “Abdul-beha” and he’as a very, hes a very revered, respected, intelligent, divine figure, “why are your pants gone, what’s happened?” and Abdul-beha tell the story of how, as he was walking, he comes across a homeless person, who, in the weather of Paris, which is very cold, he was cold, and his pants were very tattered, and they have holes in them, and the man was cold, and Abdul-beha, his title is the servant of god, so to be servant of god he is the servant of god‘s children, so he removes his pants, this extremely holy and divine figure, and gives it to the beggar, and he just clothes himself in his cloak, which was customary to wear in the day, and comes back to the believers, and that’s a sign of humility, and a sign of selflessness, and all of the stories of Abdul-beha have a certain similar message,  that, like, all Baha’i can learn from – all people can learn from – but are specifically told to children.

In this story, my informant claimed to be affected morally and religiously, and remembers it even today as guidance for his life. He said that many similar stories are told to children, and the idea behind them is that they will remember the stories and the messages within them when they grow up, and guide their lives accordingly.