Bonfire Night

Fireworks and a bonfire

What do you know about Bonfire Night? Read this article to find out about this special day!

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What is Bonfire Night?

In the UK, Bonfire Night is the anniversary of a plan to kill the king in 1605. At that time, King James I treated Catholic people badly because they had a different religion from him. Life was very unfair and dangerous for Catholic people. A group of men were so unhappy about this that they decided to try to kill the king when he was inside the Parliament building on 5 November 1605.

The men put lots of gunpowder under the Parliament building. Gunpowder is something that can explode like a bomb. One man, called Guy Fawkes, stayed with the gunpowder, ready to make it explode when the king arrived. But the king found out about the plan, and Guy Fawkes was caught. Later, he was executed. 

After Guy Fawkes was caught, everybody was allowed to have a big fire (a 'bonfire'), to celebrate that the plan didn't happen and the king didn't die. And so, 5 November became Bonfire Night, and it's celebrated every year.

How do people celebrate?

Lots of towns organise a big bonfire and a fireworks display. They build a very big fire, usually in a big, open park, and they make a model of a man that looks like Guy Fawkes. This model is called a 'guy'. Then they put the guy on top of the fire. Lots of people go out in the evening to watch the fire and the fireworks. They can look amazing!

There is also a special poem about Bonfire Night, which many children learn and say:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

In the UK, it's usually very cold in the evenings in November, so people like to eat hot food while they watch the bonfire and fireworks. Things like baked potatoes, sausages and burgers are very popular, as well as toffee apples – an apple on a stick, covered in sweet, sticky toffee. Yum!

Discussion

Do you have a celebration with a bonfire or fireworks where you live? Tell us about it!

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