WHY DO WE CELEBRATE BONFIRE NIGHT?
Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is a tradition that dates back over 400 years and is celebrated annually on the 5th of November in the United Kingdom. The celebration is marked by the lighting of bonfires and the setting off of fireworks, and it is a time for people to come together and celebrate the history and heritage of the country. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of Bonfire Night and why it's celebrated here in the UK.
The origins of Bonfire Night can be traced back to the early 17th century when King James I was on the throne. At the time, England was a Protestant country, and there was a lot of tension between the Protestants and the Catholics. King James was a Protestant, and he wanted to maintain his power over the Catholic minority in England. He introduced laws that made it difficult for Catholics to practice their faith, and this led to a lot of resentment and anger.
A group of Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, hatched a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I. The plan was to plant explosives under the House of Lords and ignite them during the opening of Parliament. The plotters rented a cellar beneath the House of Lords and smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into it.
However, the plot was foiled when one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes, was caught guarding the barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was tortured and forced to reveal the names of his accomplices, and they were all captured and executed.
The failure of the Gunpowder Plot was celebrated throughout England, and it became an annual event known as Bonfire Night. People lit bonfires and set off fireworks to commemorate the event and to show their support for the Protestant monarchy.
Over time, the celebration of Bonfire Night has evolved, and it has become less about the historical event and more about the enjoyment of fireworks and bonfires. It is now a time for people to come together and enjoy the spectacle of the fireworks, and it is a chance for families and friends to spend time together.
In some parts of the UK, Bonfire Night is celebrated with parades and processions. One of the most famous of these is the Lewes Bonfire Night in East Sussex. The event dates back to the 17th century, and it involves six different bonfire societies parading through the town, each with their own unique costumes and themes. The procession ends with the lighting of six bonfires and a spectacular firework display.
In other parts of the UK, Bonfire Night is a more low-key affair, with families and friends gathering around a bonfire in their back garden or at a local park. There are often food stalls selling traditional British fare such as toffee apples, pie and peas, and jacket potatoes, and there may be fairground rides and other entertainment.
Although Bonfire Night is a popular and well-loved tradition in the UK, there are some who feel that it is outdated and should be abolished. Some people argue that it glorifies violence and that it is insensitive to the Catholic minority in the country. Others point out that it can be dangerous, with many people being injured each year by fireworks and bonfires.
Despite these criticisms, Bonfire Night continues to be celebrated throughout the UK, and it is an important part of the country's cultural heritage. It is a time for people to come together and enjoy the spectacle of the fireworks, and it is a chance to celebrate the history and traditions of the country.