November 5th will see the usual fireworks and bonfires all over the country. n2k finds out more about Bonfire Night.
In 1605 thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes. However the leader of the group was actually a man called Robert Catesby.
The men were all English Catholics who were unhappy that King James I was not tolerant of their religion.
They decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to kill the King, possibly the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics.
The plot thickens
To carry out their plan, they got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder – and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.
However they soon realised that that innocent people could be killed in the attack, including people who fought for more rights for Catholics.
Some of the plotters started having second thoughts and one of the group members sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th. This letter of course eventually reached the King.
The plot fails
The plan never went ahead! Instead, Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the gunpowder when the authorities stormed it, was caught, tortured and eventually executed.
The date was November 5th 1605, and on that very night bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night with fireworks and sometimes a ‘guy’ – representing Guy Fawkes, burned on a bonfire.
Over 400 years later Bonfire Night is still a tradition. There are bonfire nights all over the country which extend from back garden events to massive shows. The tradition has even crossed over to New Zealand and Canada.
There are many events happening all over the country and usually one in every main local park. Have a look on line for the one nearest to you. Alternatively you might want to hold a celebration of your own!
If you are planning your own display in your back garden make sure you think through the safety issues first!
- Store your fireworks in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry. Only buy fireworks that have a safety mark BS 7114!
- Keep pets indoors and children well away from fires and fireworks.
- Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency.
- It’s much safer to manage without a bonfire. If you do have one, make sure it’s well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds.
- One adult only should be responsible for the fire and another for letting off fireworks, one at a time, and without rushing. Stand well back!.