The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes Day – Remember, Remember the 5th of November:
The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night in Britain and all around the country you’ll find Bonfire Night festivities and massive firework displays. This British tradition dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I.
So Who Was Guy Fawkes?
Guy Fawkes was a Roman Catholic and part of a group of Catholic conspirators who wanted to restore civil rights to members of their religion. Had he been successful in his mission, the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster may not be in existence today.
The Houses of Parliament, as we all know, are home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords and the famous clock tower Big Ben, a top London tourist attraction.
The Gunpowder Plot 1605 in Brief
The Gunpowder Plot was an attempt by Roman Catholic conspirators to restore civil rights to members of their religion. The Plot was timed for the State Opening of Parliament in 1605 when all the members of the House of Commons and Lords, as well as the King, would be present at that time. The conspirators hid gunpowder in a vault beneath the House of Lords, preparing to blow up Parliament, and everyone inside. The plot was foiled when an anonymous letter was sent to the Catholic Lord Monteagle warning him not to attend the opening. This raised suspicions and a search party was dispatched. Guy Fawkes was found preparing to light the fuse on November 5th.
Guy Fawkes was arrested and tortured until he named his fellow plotters. He was eventually sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
Bonfire Night – Then and Now
To this day, it is customary for the cellars in the Houses of Parliament to be searched by the Yeoman of the Guard before each State Opening of Parliament.
The anniversary of Fawkes’ arrest is celebrated each year with fireworks and bonfires and sometimes, effigies of Guy Fawkes (“the guy”) are burned on top of the bonfires.
Fireworks Displays in London
Remember, remember the fifth of November when firework festivities take place throughout London’s boroughs and many of London’s large parks have communal firework displays that are open to the general public. If you love a good firework display, it’s great fun to wrap up and head out to enjoy the spectacular fireworks, massive bonfires, refreshments and lively entertainment. See the list of London Bonfire Night locations HERE.