Guy Fawkes Day sets skies above England alight

Guy Fawkes Day sets skies above England alight

by Karen Bradbury 
Stripes Europe

They’ll be playing with fire across England this weekend, but not to worry—it’s all in good fun, and in memory of an event that took place more than four centuries ago.

Guy Fawkes Day, otherwise known as Bonfire Night, is perhaps so beloved in the collective consciousness because it brings sound and light to an otherwise dark and dreary time of year.

The short poem many an English primary schooler can recite by heart sums up the event behind the flames and makes it easy to remember the date:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot

We see no reason

Why Gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot….

The observance commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. To make short work of a long history, a group of five conspirators were enraged with King James I, who had refused to grant greater religious tolerance to the Catholic population. So the group hatched a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the opening of its new session and to kill the king and members of Parliament in the process. On the eve of the night they were to set their plan in motion, Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators, was discovered in a cellar below the Houses of Parliament. The 36 barrels of gunpowder and matches found in his pocket laid bare the conspirators’ intentions. Fawkes, along with those conspirators not killed while resisting capture, were tried, convicted and executed. Parliament declared Nov. 5 a national day of thanksgiving, and celebrations have taken place ever since.

Contemporary celebrations include bonfires, parades, fireworks and not least food. Typical fare eaten on the night includes hot dogs and bangers (sausages), often served up with beans, along with toffee apples for dessert.

Stationed in the U.K. and eager to get in on the fun? While many such events have been cancelled once again in 2021, this event near RAF Alconbury/Molesworth is set to go forward:

Kimbolton Castle Fireworks 2021

Kimbolton Castle, Cambridgeshire

Friday, Nov. 5, from 5:45 p.m.

Admission is 14 GBP for adults, children 16 and enter free

Those near RAF Mildenhall/Lakenheath can check out:

Bury St Edmunds Ruby Club Fireworks Night

The GK IPA Haberden, Southgate Green, Bury St Edmunds

Friday, Nov. 5, from 6 p.m.

Admission is 5 GBP per person, and children under five enter free. Car parking costs an additional 2 GBP.


For a listing of the best Bonfire Night events across England, see

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