One of my favourite things about England is the 5th of November, where the country celebrates Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks night.
A brief history for those who aren’t familiar with the fantastic tradition we celebrate – in 1605 there was a plot to kill King James I and put a Catholic monarch back on the throne. A group of people, including a man named Guy Fawkes, leased an undercroft of the House of Lords and filled it with gunpowder. The idea was that when the King was in the House of Lords, they’d set light to the gunpowder and…boom!
After the undercroft had been filled with the gunpowder, Guy Fawkes was left guarding it until the time came to set fire to it. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for all the poor souls who were due to be in the House of Lords at the set time, someone tipped off the police who then searched all of the surrounding areas.
They stumbled upon Guy Fawkes, sitting there with his barrels of gunpowder, and arrested him before subjecting him to torture and questioning. He broke, as one would after being tortured, and was sentenced to death.
Ever since 1605, the anniversary of the failure of the plot to kill the king has been celebrated with fireworks and bonfires. Why bonfires and fireworks I hear you ask? Well, it’s tradition that a bonfire be lit, and a dummy dressed up as Guy Fawkes is thrown on the bonfire. This is usually accompanied by fireworks, which symbolise the gunpowder that never went off.
Bonfire night is a popular tradition in the UK, although it’s not so much a celebration of the failed attempt to kill the King anymore, just an excuse to enjoy a bonfire or fireworks display. If you find yourself in the UK around the 5th November, or the weekend closest to that date, you’re likely to find local display nearby.
N.B. These photos are not mine.