1 Remember, Remember
    1.1 The Bonfire
    1.2 Tasty Treats
    1.3 Learn More

Guy Fawkes Night Buying Guide

Guy Fawkes  Night, also known as Bonfire Night, Cracker Night, or Fireworks Night, is an annual holiday that takes place on 5 November.  It commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot  of 1605, where Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up English Parliament and assassinate James I, the reigning king.  This was plotted in the hopes of provoking an uprising amongst the Catholic population, who were distressed by the increasingly severe laws that had been established to end the practice of their religion.  Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators rolled nearly two tonnes of gunpowder into the cellars of the Houses of Parliament.  However, one of Fawkes' band had sent a letter to his friend in Parliament, Lord Monteagle, to warn him to stay away; this letter was intercepted.  As Fawkes entered the cellar on the night of the attempt, he and his followers were arrested, imprisoned, and eventually executed.  On this same night, bonfires were lit all around the city of London to celebrate the safety of the king.

Remember, Remember

The Gunpowder Plot is remembered in many different ways.  Not only is the basement of the House of Parliament commemoratively searched at the opening of each new session, but via a Parliamentary act, King James I designated 1 November as a day of thanksgiving for "the joyful day of deliverance".  This act was in effect until 1859, but even to this day, Guy Fawkes Night is still celebrated both publicly and privately around the country.

The Bonfire

The week before the holiday, effigies of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators are constructed, and children often parade "The Guys" through the streets and beg for "a penny for the Guy".  This money is then used to buy fireworks, which are used for the festivities and carnivals.  Large bonfires are built, and these effigies are then burned.

Make your own effigy! Mould a frame out of chicken wire  and cover it with newspaper or papier mâché . Though Fawkes is the most commonly-burned effigy, modern politicians are also popular, so dress and paint yours as you like!

A Guy Fawkes hat  is a fun way to get into the festive spirit. Either use it to adorn the head of your effigy, or wear it yourself if you're not afraid of people mistaking you for the real thing

Provided you are within the legal limits, fireworks such as sparklers ,barrages  and cakes  are great for celebrating. However, always remember that a safe holiday is a fun holiday.

Be sure to bring something to roast! Baked potatoes and treacle  treats (such as bonfire toffee ) are traditional, but marshmallows  and chestnuts  also do in a pinch.

Tasty Treats

Check out the External Links below to find recipes for these traditional snacks!

Toffee apples are a holiday staple, and are incredibly fun to make. Don't forget the ice lolly sticks !

Parkin is a classic ginger cake and a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or a blazing bonfire.

There are many different recipes for a Bonfire Punch. Don't forget to make one for the kids as well.

This is a perfect recipe for children (supervised, of course!) as chocolate sparklers require little prep.

Learn More

First of all, don't forget about the Guy Fawkes' Day poem:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

If you're interested in learning more about the Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night, check out these searches:

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot 

Antonia Fraser retells Guy Fawkes' story much in the manner of a detective novel.

The Gunpowder Plot 

Alan Haynes delves into the Catholic conspiracy and tries to sort out the conflicting evidence surrounding the affair.

The Gunpowder Plot (How Do We Know About?) 

In this children's book, Deborah Fox writes a narrative tale and presents factual evidence to explain the Gunpowder Plot.

The Life of Guy Fawkes 

This book by Emma Lynch is targeted at children and uses primary source materials to tell Fawkes' story.

V for Vendetta 

This dystopian film starring Natalie Portman is heavily influenced by the Guy Fawkes legend.