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What is Guy Fawkes Night?

Also known as Bonfire Night, this is an annual evening where people gather to set off fireworks and bonfires throughout the country. This takes place every 5th of November and many crowds go out in their gloves and scarves to marvel at the flames and colourful fireworks that are being ignited into the sky. While you don’t have to learn English to grasp a large understanding of this event, it really helps in immersing yourself in British culture.

Why is it celebrated?

The holiday dates as far back as 1605, due to the failure of a Gunpowder Plot. A group of conspirators was trying to blow up the parliament and kill the Protestant King James I. The conspirators were Catholic and one of them was Guy Fawkes, he was caught in the cellar below the House of the Lords. He was surrounded by 36 barrels of gunpowder when caught. While he wasn’t the mastermind behind this plan (Robert Catesby was), Fawkes is most famous for it. All the conspirators except for Fawkes were caught, confessed, and then later hanged for their crimes. Fawkes was notable because jumped to his death rather than allow himself to get caught. In short, Guy Fawkes's night is celebrated as if the Gunpowder Plot would have been successful (which it was not).

Where is it celebrated?

From villages to cities, this is celebrated every 5th of November in the United Kingdom. Sussex is known for its elaborate Guy Fawkes Night. Many of the towns and villages in Southeast England will have large bonfires and firework shows. One of the more popular places to get this experience would be the village of Lewes. Many people throughout the UK travel to Lewes to see their bonfire as they have their own special version that they do of Guy Fawkes Night. This includes a humorous burning of public figures, do worry, nobody gets hurt in this event. It’s all for show and humour. Which makes it stand out from all the other towns and villages that celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

What is the gunpowder rhyme?

The gunpowder rhyme is a simple little poem that British people learn in schools as they grow up. This is also a part of Guy Fawkes Night. The first line is very popular and known in other countries. The entire poem is:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November! Gunpowder treason and plot We see no reason why Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

Is Guy Fawkes Night a social event?

Yes! It’s a very social event! This is the best time to get bundled up in warm clothes and gather with the other villagers or townspeople to enjoy the flames of the bonfire or the glistening lights from the fireworks.

Is any food involved in the event?

Since this is a social event, you can expect food stands or local eaters to pop up with some special food for the event. Since it’s in the cold night of November, you can expect to see hot foods such as soup being sold. Some other foods you may see would be parkins and other cakes, and even toffee apples depending on the area you’re at.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog. As always, you will progress more by reading, listening and practising your English so make sure you check out IQ Global for free resources and our YouTube channel. See you next time!

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