The 5th of November Bonfire Night is a wonderful holiday in the UK but what’s it about? It’s all in the famous rhyme:
Remember remember, the Fifth of November
The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
We know no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot
Still not clear? Let’s enlist another famous rhyme to help out!
2. House Goes Boom
In 1605, a group of thirteen conspirators, including a Yorkshireman named Guy Fawkes, planned to blow up Parliament during the State Opening and kill the entire legislature along with King James I. In a cellar under the House of Lords chamber, they placed 36 barrels filled with 2.5 metric tons of gunpowder. (That’s a lot of gunpowder, folks.)
In the early hours of November 5th, the morning of the State Opening, Fawkes was in the cellar guarding the barrels when the authorities arrived. He was captured and later executed. Upon hearing the news that King James was safe, people took to the streets and began celebrating. This tradition continues to this day during Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night.
3. Friends Go Yay
Invite your friends to celebrate the fact that King James and Parliament were not blown sky high! Guy Fawkes parties are often combined with Hallowe’en parties- so feel free to make your Bonfire Night a fancy dress party!
4. Light a Bonfire They Say
Bonfires were lit on the night of the 5th to celebrate the King’s and Parliament’s safety. This tradition continues to this day.
5. Early Days, Effigies, then SUDDENLY you’re burning trash*
In the early days of Bonfire Night celebrations, revellers burned effigies of Fawkes. This tradition continues to this day. Some celebrations are now very elaborate and resemble a cross between July 4th and Hallowe’en.
*Years ago people burned garden waste and trash. This is not recommended.
6. Pennies Now? Go ask your mates
In the days leading up to Bonfire Night, children parade the effigies they made around and ask their neighbours, “Penny for the Guy?” They spend anything they collect on fireworks or sweets for Bonfire Night celebrations.
7. Serving Nibbles in Disguise
Since November 5th can be a cold night, serve some proper food that will keep you and your guests warm. Traditional dishes on Bonfire Night include potatoes baked in the ashes of the bonfire, sausages, soups, stews and toasted marshmallows. (Yum!) For other delicious food suggestions, check out the BBC’s Bonfire Night Recipes.
8. If You Recite, the Yearly Rhyme…
“Remember, remember” to recite the poem! You can find the full version here.
9. Go ahead and set some Off Off Off Off Off. Off Off Off Off Off. Off Off Off Off Off.
Fireworks are a big part of most modern Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. Many towns and cities, including London, put on spectacular firework displays. If you can’t manage to get to Britain for the event, you can set off a few of your own, but ONLY if it’s legal to set off fireworks in your state!! And folks, always take safety precautions, ‘kay?
10. What does Guy Fawkes Say!?!
For more fun facts about Bonfire night, check out our very own Carole Johnson’s awesome blog. And have a Happy Guy Fawkes Night!