Sian, our Senior Registrar explains the history behind ‘Bonfire Night’. A very British celebration!
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,Gunpowder, treason and plot!
The 5th November is an important date in the UK when people across the country celebrate Bonfire Night.
Some people hold small fireworks parties in their gardens and others attend big organised displays in public parks. Why do we do this? It is because it’s the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament led by a man called Guy Fawkes.
It’s called the Gunpowder Plot, and bonfires are lit to burn the “Guy” – a kind of dummy that represents Fawkes. Guy (Guido) Fawkes led the Gunpowder plot in 1605. The plot was principally about religion. England was a Protestant country, and the plotters were Catholic. The group wanted to return England to the Catholic faith. They thought they could do this by killing King James I and his ministers. Fawkes and his men put 36 barrels of gunpowder in cellars under the Houses of Parliament in London, ready to set off a massive explosion.
One member of the group sent a letter to his friend who worked in Parliament, warning him to stay away on 5th November. The warning letter reached the King, and the King’s forces made plans to stop the conspirators. Guards broke into the cellars where the gunpowder plotters were waiting. They were arrested, tortured and executed.
On the same night that the Gunpowder plot was discovered, 5th November 1605, bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then the date has become known as Bonfire night and we still celebrate today!
So, where can we go to celebrate in London this year? One of the best and most popular venues is Brockwell Park in South East London. There will be fireworks and a bonfire on Wednesday 5th November. Southwark Park also has a display on 5th and Battersea Park will hold a display set to music on 8th November.
Check this website out for more information.