What is Guy Fawkes Night?

Guy Fawkes Night, sometimes also referred to as Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day, is an annual celebration that takes place in the UK around November 5. On this night, people in most parts of Great Britain light bonfires, fireworks and effigy of the famous Guy Fawkes.

Bonfire NightThis custom started in the year 1605, when Guy Fawkes, an active member of the Gunpowder Plot, on November 5 was caught red handed protecting a large amount of explosives that were to be used to assassinate King James I and blow up the parliament. However, nothing of this sort happened as Guy Fawkes was put behind the bars. Since the king survived the assassination attempt and the parliament remained safe, bonfires and firecrackers were lit. After a few months, the government passed an act known as Observance of November 5 Act, wherein people must celebrate the failure of the assassination every year on November 5 by lighting crackers. This act was in force until the year of 1859. However, people in the UK still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

However, modern theory explains that Guy Fawkes was never plotting to blow up the parliament. He only planned to assassinate King James I, because he did not put an end on the persecution of the Catholics, as was promised by him. Whether or not he would have been successful, or for what mission he carried the explosives was never clear. Some believed that the gunpowder that he was protecting was so old, even then, that it was impossible for him to use as explosive.

Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Night

In order to keep the English Parliament safe from any such act, its basement is checked by the Yeaman before the start of any new session, as a custom. Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated enthusiastically in London. However, there is not much participation from the population of Northern Ireland. But it is said to have been celebrated in other areas of the world like New Zealand and the newly founded Canada.

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