Article Written by Eleanor Smith 10C & Amy Panter 10N
Edited by Scarlet Davies 11L
Bonfire night is still celebrated widely throughout the UK, but many people are forgetting its roots and significance in history.
Traditionally, on the 5th of November, huge fireworks displays are set off across Britain, lighting up the sky in a spectacular fashion. Aptly to its name, bonfires are lit too, and sometimes, rather barbarically, an effigy of Guy Fawkes, or a ‘Guy’, is cast upon the bonfire as a nod to the historical background of this event.
In 1605, the Gunpowder Plot (earlier called the Jesuit Treason) was a failed assassination plot against James I, England’s monarch at the time. This unsuccessful attempt was carried out by Robert Catesby and nine of his closest companions, mainly Jack Wright, Thomas Percy, Thomas Wintour and, of course, Guy Fawkes.
In March 1605, the plotters took out a lease on a cellar underneath Parliament. They gradually carted in enough gunpowder to eradicate everyone and everything in the vicinity if ignited. Whilst everything seemed to be going well for the plotters, an anonymous letter was delivered to Lord Monteagle, warning him not to attend Parliament. A search in Westminster was ordered and the attackers were found. Guy Fawkes’ fate was to be hung, drawn and quartered. This hopeful tale of religion and revenge backfired quickly, and we mark this day in the British calendar to remember the story of Guy Fawkes.
Traditions such as these are the epitome of autumn, as most think of bonfire night and think of sparklers and toffee apples, which together symbolise the run-up to Christmas.
But remember that safety is essential! Setting up firework displays is not without its risks, but well-organised celebrations are exceptionally magical. We need to remember to keep this tradition alive in a safe and structured environment.
For more information about how to keep safe and more on the history of this celebration, click here: Bonfire night: Your top tips on how stay safe - CBBC Newsround