“Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot”
You’re probably used to hearing the 5th of November being more commonly referred to as Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night or Guy Fawkes Night. But what are these names referring to? Where has this celebration come from? And what do we do across the UK as the 5th of November hits?
What’s Bonfire Night all about?
Here’s a mini history lesson: way back in 1605, on the 5th November, there was a grand plot to blow up Parliament using gunpowder. The aim was to kill the King (James I) and stop Parliament oppressing the Catholics. Guy Fawkes was one of the conspirators, and was found under the House of Lords guarding the gunpowder that they were intending to use for the explosion.
The plot was foiled, the explosion didn’t go ahead, and the conspirators were prosecuted for treason.
As a celebration of the foiled attempt and the King’s survival, the 5th of November was declared as a day of national celebration.
What’s on around Bonfire Night?
The 5th of November has remained a day of national celebration in the UK, and around this date you can usually find lots of people celebrating by having large bonfires and burning figures of Guy Fawkes, as well as setting off Fireworks.
Local councils across the UK will usually put on events with a bonfire and a large firework display for the public, so it’s always worth looking around or searching online to see what is going on in your local area. Events are also usually very family friendly.
Do’s and Don’ts for keeping safe
Do: keep your distance from the bonfire & fireworks, make sure there are buckets of water nearby to the fire, adults supervise children at all times.
Don’t: light the bonfire near to buildings or trees, hold sparklers without wearing gloves, approach fireworks after they’ve been lit.
Additional fun facts
Here’s 5 extra things that you might not have known relating to the 5th November
- Until 1959 it was actually illegal in the UK to not celebrate bonfire night, the only exception was in York where Guy Fawkes was a student at St Peter’s School.
- There is an Island in the Galapagos named after Guy Fawkes
- Fireworks can travel up to 150mph
- Fireworks were actually invented by accident by a Chinese cook
- Approximately £15m is spent every year in the UK on fireworks.
We hope you enjoy your Bonfire Night celebrations!