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If you have ever been to Britain on the evening of 5th November, you might wonder why you can hear fireworks and see people gathering in various parks and gardens enjoying a bonfire night, but what is it about?
Find out the story behind this well-loved event in this blog.
What is Bonfire Night?
Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Guy Fawkes Day is an annual ceremony observed on 5 November, primarily in the UK. It is the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organized by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.
It’s that time of year when the people in Britain gather in parks to watch effigies burn on bonfires and fireworks light up the sky, wrapped up in woolly hats and gloves.
What was the Gunpowder Plot and Who was Guy Fawkes?
In 1605, a group of angry Catholic revolutionaries of which Guy ( Guido) Fawkes was a part, wanted to blow up King James Ⅰ and his government. This was because the men were furious over the persecution of their faith in England, which was then a Protestant country. All of them wanted England to be a Catholic country again, which they thought could only be possible if they killed King James I and his ministers.
They plotted to blow up the Houses of Westminster – killing the King and scores of noblemen during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5.
In order to execute their plans, Fawkes and his group put 36 barrels of gunpowder in cellars underneath the Parliament. He was a military guy with 10 years of experience and therefore was charged with guarding the barrels.
However, one member of the group sent a letter to his friend working in the Parliament, warning him to stay away from there. But due to luck, the king’s supporters got hold of the letter and the entire plot was rumbled!
But two hours before the barrels were due to blow, guards broke into the cellars where the gunpowder was stored and arrested Guy Fawkes.
Why it is Celebrated?
Those Loyal to the King celebrated the fact he had survived an attack that would have killed him. They burnt massive bonfires with a dummy man on top of them. However, the celebrations were made official months later when an annual holiday was enforced titled the ‘Observance of 5th November Act’.
But due to religious sentiments linked with the plot, the celebration initially had strong undertones of Anti-Catholic gatherings.
In modern times people light bonfires, enjoy colourful fireworks, food and drink, alongside music, and family activities.
If you wish to enjoy this day with your family and friends, visit the Alexandra Palace and Battersea Park which will host some of the most epic firework displays. There will be a variety of events like feature film screenings, ice skating, live music, and funfair rides.
Remember, remember the 5th of November!