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Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night

Festivals | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod

When is Guy Fawkes day?

Guy Fawkes Day, or Bonfire Night, is celebrated in the United Kingdom on November 5 every year.

History of the Gunpowder Plot

Around 400 years ago, there was a man named Guy Fawkes who was a part of the group which was plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, with the help of gunpowder. Their mission was to kill King James I and his ministers.

James I had passed strict laws against the Catholics. They had to practice their religion in secret and were punished if they would not attend the Protestant church.

A group of twelve protestors decided to blow up the House of Parliament with gunpowder and Guy Fawkes had to keep a watch over the 36 barrels of gunpowder and light them up when it was time. However, fate had something else in store.

On the morning of November 5, Guy Fawkes was discovered by soldiers. They arrested him.

That night, people lit bonfires to celebrate King James I’s escape.

How to Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day

  • Now, every year, people in UK light huge bonfires on the night of 5 November, to burn the ‘Guy,’ the scarecrow type figure made out of old clothes, stuffed paper and straw.
  • Fireworks are set off, as a reminder of the gunpowder hidden in the cellar by the protestors.
  • Torch lit processions go on the roads leading to the firework displays.
  • The bonfires are used to cook soup and bake potatoes for the crowds that come to watch the fireworks.
  • Children sometimes blacken their faces to look like Guy Fawkes. Before Guy Fawkes Day, some children carry out home made effigies of Guy Fawkes on the street and ask passersby for ‘a penny for the Guy.’ This money is then used to buy fireworks for Bonfire Night.

To read more interesting festivals for kids, click here.

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