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Bonfire Night or Guy Falkes Night
Gunpowder Plot: by Helen Gaffney
On 5 November 1605, Guy Fawkes and a small band of conspirators planned to blow up King James I and Parliament. However, the plot was revealed, Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament surrounded by casks of gunpowder, and after being tortured he was executed for treason.
Today, nearly four centuries later, we still celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot with Bonfire Night celebrations. Fireworks are let off and for the children it is the first treat of winter and one of the most exciting days of the year. For weeks before, small children go around the villages collecting 'a penny for the guy' and a large bonfire is built of wood. The guy, made of sticks and straw and dressed in old clothes, sits atop the great pyre.
Guy Fawkes' Day is marked by many fire-related customs, some are particularly boisterous and even dangerous. The town of Lewes in East Sussex is a peaceful old place except on 5 November when it explodes with elaborate fancy-dress parades, lighted flares, bands, fireworks and mammoth bonfires. In Ottery St. Mary in Devon the climax on the 5th of November is a carnival procession, a bonfire and the burning of Guy Fawkes in effigy followed by the carrying of fiercely blazing tar barrels perilously through the packed crowds. The bearers carry the barrels on their shoulders and wear old clothes and protective gloves. In some parts of the country, especially in the north, Guy Fawkes' Eve is also known as Mischief Night, an excuse for many pranks and minor lawlessness.
If you're holding a party this Bonfire Night you will need to serve plenty of warming autumn food as in the suggested menu below:
Guy Fawkes Party Menu