Bonfire Night and the History of Guy Fawkes
It’s that time of year again when we wrap up warm, put on a wooly hat, scarf and gloves and head out see the many bonfire celebrations around London.
Bonfire night, which takes place every year on the 5th November, is one of the most beautiful and entertaining events we have in Autumn, where people throughout England celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with firework displays and by gathering around or lighting bonfires.
The history of this celebration dates back to Elizabethan times (1533 –1603). Queen Elizabeth was protestant and spent most of her sovereignty persecuting the Catholics. When she died in 1603, everyone hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant towards those of Catholic religion, but this was not the case, and the persecutions continued and intensified.
A group of 5 men, under the leadership of Robert Catesby, decided that something had to be done, and the only way to do this was to resort to some form of violent act: they decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament! Their plan was to store 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament and blow the building up. Boom!
However, some of the conspirators started thinking that innocent people would have got caught up in the explosion, so one of them took it upon himself to write an anonymous letter to a Lord warning him about the plot.
This letter eventually made its way to King James I who ordered for the conspirators to be captured. Guy Fawkes, who was looking after the 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars, was found by the king’s men. He was tortured and executed. Once word got round, people in England started to light bonfires to show their delight that the king had been saved.
This tradition has been passed on from generation to generation and on the 5th November, people all over England gather around huge bonfires and watch or set off beautiful fireworks.
If you want to take part in this celebration, there are many venues where firework displays will take place in London. Here is the list of the biggest and most important ones, but beware, you might need to book or pay to get in.
Bonfire Night Events in London
Battersea Park Fireworks 4 Nov
Southwark’s Fireworks Night 5 Nov
Lambeth Fireworks 4 Nov
Beckenham Fireworks 4 Nov
Blackheath Fireworks 4 Nov
Victoria Park Fireworks 5 Nov
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival 3-4 Nov
Brent Fireworks Night 4 Nov
Guy Fawkes Festival and Fireworks 4-5 Nov
Superhero Fireworks Spectacular 4 Nov
If you don’t fancy braving the weather on a chilly November night, why not cuddle up on the sofa and watch one of these top 10 bonfire night films.
Whatever you decide to do, please be safe and don’t get too close to the bonfire or to the fireworks as they are being lit. Have FUN and send your pictures to: [email protected]