GUY FAWKES DAY – Festival in the United Kingdom

Guy Fawkes Day, also famous as Guy Fawkes Night or even Bonfire Night, has observed on the fifth of November, primarily in The United Kingdom. It has celebrated with a show of fireworks and bonfires. The day has celebrated to commemorate the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The plot was to blow up the British parliament and kill King James I. The day has named after Guy Fawkes as he was one of the main conspirators.

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In the early 17th century, the Catholics in Britain had become frustrated with the repressive reign of the King and the attitude of the people towards their religion and was the basis of the conspiracy. In May 1604, a handful of catholic dissidents – led by Robert Catesby met at an Inn in London where Catesby proposed a plan to blow up the houses of parliament with gunpowder which would lead to the death of King James, his son, the members of the house of lords as well as the home of commons. The plan further elaborated means to replace the current monarchy with a catholic one.

Fawkes was a converted Catholic who fought for Catholic Spain against the Protestant Dutch. The plan has failed when the conspirators have betrayed, and Guy Fawkes had caught with barrels of gunpowder in the House of Lords. He had tortured for days till he confessed and finally sentenced to be hanged. However, just before the execution, he fell from a scaffolding and broke his neck. The other conspirators have soon arrested, and some died in a shootout with the English troops. The people of England celebrated the King’s escape from death with the bursting of firecrackers and bonfires, which led it to become a tradition. These celebrations even spread as far as the American colonies, where they came to be known as Pope Day.


The fireworks that have used in the celebration represent the explosives that have never used by the plotters. The holidays were more robust until the 19th century. It is now more muted. Guy Fawkes Day has celebrated in the United Kingdom and some countries which were part of the then British Empire. It has celebrated with parades, fireworks, bonfires, and food. In some places, it has celebrated traditionally. Men run after each other with kit tar barrels. Children carry the straw effigies of Guy Fawkes through the streets in the days leading up to the festival, while reciting rhymes associated with the occasion. They often stop to ask a passer-by for ‘a penny for the guy.’ These effigies are later burned. The guards perform a ceremonial check of the parliament building.

Fireworks are a major attraction, and in some towns and cities, the local authorities organize bonfires and a professional fireworks event. The evening sky is lit up with a spectacular display of fireworks. Bonfires also form a significant part, and thousands of people are out on the streets at night in Lewes, England. Lewes (in southeastern England), involves six bonfire societies as a part of its celebration, the memberships of which are grounded in family history stretching back for generations. Popular food is mainly baked potatoes and toffee apples.

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