Bonfire Night, also known in the UK as Guy Fawkes Night (as well as Guy Fawkes Day), takes place on November 5 to mark the failure of the 17th-century Gunpowder Plot designed to kill King James I. To this day, people across Britain celebrate with all sorts of fire-related events. No matter where you are in the world, you can join the fun by lighting your own bonfire, going to a fireworks show, or learning more about the history of the Gunpowder Plot.
Bonfire Night - History
Lewes famously celebrated Bonfire Night
At one point, celebrations in the English town of Lewes resembled a riot. Eventually, they were banned from the streets. By 1850, though, they returned peacefully. It's now regarded as the most famous celebration of Bonfire Night in the world.
November 5, 1607
The first big Bonfire Night celebration occured
Canterbury celebrated with over 100 pounds of gunpowder and 14 pounds of matches — adding food and drink to the party in later years.
The Gunpowder Plot failed
Someone in Guy Fawkes' group sent a letter to a member of Parliament warning him to stay away from the Parliament building; this member then forwarded the letter to the King, saving his life in the process.
Bonfire Night Activities
1. Light your own bonfire
Regardless of where you live, lighting your own bonfire is a fun and easy way to celebrate Bonfire Night. Grab your friends, some wood, and make s'mores!
2. Eat bangers and mash
If you really want to go all out, you can cook sausage over your bonfire. However, if you want to celebrate Bonfire Night in an easier way, you can simply enjoy the traditional meal of bangers and mash.
3. Read up on the Gunpowder Plot
Bonfire Night actually began the same year rebels tried to carry out the Gunpowder Plot. Many Londoners knew that the King's life had been saved, triggering a bonfire celebration that very night.
4 Bonfire-friendly Dishes Perfect For Guy Fawkes Night
1. Cinnamon sugar donuts
Bring along some biscuit dough, cinnamon sugar, oil, and a dutch oven; just be careful not to burn yourself with the oil!
2. Chocolate eclairs
Wrap crescent roll dough around a stick, cook over the fire, remove the stick, and fill with pudding or chocolate frosting.
3. Banana s'mores
Slice a banana lengthwise and fill with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, then cover in foil and heat over the fire until melted.
4. Breakfast sandwiches
Cook biscuit dough and an egg using muffin tins; when both are heated, assemble your sandwich, and top with cheese, onion, and salt, and pepper.
Why We Love Bonfire Night
A. Bonfire Night keeps history alive
British history's quite colorful — filled with betrayal, plots against the monarchy, and power shifts. Bonfire Night sheds light on the state of the country at the time, as well as the tension between Catholics and Protestants, which shaped much of Britain's history.
B. It's a unique experience
Bonfire Night's a fun event that anyone can enjoy. Cities and towns host stunning firework shows, festivals, and bonfire events.
C. Kids love to participate
Some children still walk the streets with a Guy Fawkes dummy — asking for money to buy fireworks later that night. While children can no longer buy fireworks, the tradition remains.