It’s the 5th of November in the UK. People all going crazy about fireworks and burning some guy in a bonfire, and you are there wondering ‘Where have I ended up?’. Do not sweat it. It’s a totally normal thing, well at least here, and a pretty nice holiday to be honest. There are firework displays in all cities, towns and villages, bonfires and loads of food and drink for everyone to go round. Some call it ‘Bonfire night’, others know it as ‘Guy Fawkes Day’ or even ‘Firework Night’, it’s all the same holiday.
However, the reason behind this holiday is not as jolly as its celebration today. It a commemoration of the events that took place on the 5th of November 1906 in London. English Catholics have long been persecuted by both Queen Elizabeth I until her death in 1903 and then her successor James I, even though his own mother was a Catholic.
Therefore 13 men decided that the answer to resolve this issue was violence, more specifically blow up the Houses of Parliament. Robert Catesby, the leader of that group, thought that in doing so he would ease the life of fellow Catholics in the UK. The plan was to store 36 barrels in the cellar, right underneath the Parliament. The King, however found out just in time and ordered the cellar to be searched. That is when they found all the gun powder and Guy Fawkes, the person supposed to ignite the barrels, who was later tortured and executed.
Ever since then celebrations take place on the 5th of November in cities and towns within the UK, even in some other countries as well. They were first held to celebrate the safety of the king, but nowadays, they are held as a tradition and to have fun with family and friends. Typical activities include building bonfires and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes in it. All of this is accompanied by a nice fireworks display.
The extent of the festivities varies depending on the town you are in, but there’s usually drinking and food involved. Typically people would be drinking mulled wine or spiced cider and eating things such as jacket potatoes, parkin cake, toffee apples, bonfire toffee etc.
The 5th of November is coming up so brace yourselves! Check out what is happening near your location, invite your friends and get your sparklers ready. Make sure to get some spised cider to keep you warm and try a jacket potato or two.