Guy Fawkes Night

 Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

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image credit – flickr Shane Global

A friend and I were discussing purely British celebrations the other week and we came up with Guy Fawkes Night and nothing else.  Do we have any other events that we only celebrate in the UK?  There is St George/St Andrews/St Davids day, but really we don’t do much to celebrate those do we? Burns night is the only one I can think of, and that would only be celebrated in Scotland.  Hmmm….

Anyway.  I love Guy Fawkes night, or fireworks / bonfire night as it’s sometimes called.  Since the kids were old enough to understand I would get books out about the history of it so they would know why we all make a bonfire and set off fireworks.  For any readers who don’t know here’s a little bit of background to why it happens:


Guy Fawkes was a catholic and became involved with a group of other catholics in a plot to assasinate the king, James  I.  Parliament was due to be opened on 5th Novemeber 1605 so they planned to blow it up, including the King, by blowing up gunpowder barrels they put in the basement.

The plot was discovered due to a letter being received that warned another noble to stay away from parliament that day.  The letter was eventually given to the king who ordered the houses of parliament to be searched and it was said that Guy Fawkes was found surrounded by gunpowder barrels and waiting to light them.  He was arrested and eventually executed.


Ok, that was a very brief history!!  So since then apparantly it has been something that has been remembered every year by ringing church bells and lighting bonfires.  Nowadays we have bonfires, put a ‘Guy’ on top (an effigy of Guy Fawkes) and set off fireworks.

Penny for the guy?

I have a lot of fond memories of going to large displays as a kid.  They were free and put on by the council.   One of the best years was when I was in London about to head off on holiday.  I was staying with my aunt and uncle who were caretakers for a block of flats.  We went to the top and watched the whole of London set off fireworks!  Fab!

Often now we’ll just go for walks round the neighbourhood on the nights that people were setting them off, just enjoying them for free and soaking up that smell that comes with fireworks.

Sometimes we go to friends to have a bonfire which we did last night.   It was a great way to get rid of some old furniture in the house.    I was very ruthless and got rid of drawers and bookshelves and anything that was on its last legs and couldn’t be donated and used.  It felt good!

can you spot the Guy on the bonfire?

I love hearing about interesting celebrations around the world.  So many things to see and so little time!!

2 thoughts on “Guy Fawkes Night

  1. Michelle says:

    The 2nd viscount of Cowdray Castle (that other Tudory place friends re-enact at 😉 ) was somehow involved in the gunpowder plot – got imprisoned for it too.

    • Kirsty says:

      😀 Interesting. I’m feeling very into the Tudor/Stuarts age at the moment and learning all about that. Must find interesting places to visit for next year 🙂

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