The History of Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes Day, often known as Bonfire Night, is a British holiday honouring the failure of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot on November 5.

The conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, led by Robert Catesby, were Roman Catholics furious with King James I for refusing to allow Catholics greater religious tolerance. They intended to blow up the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) during the state opening of Parliament. The plot was abandoned when the conspirators were betrayed, and Parliament designated November 5 as a day of thanksgiving. The night before the attack, one of them, Guy Fawkes, was apprehended in the cellar where the planned explosives were hidden.

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Today, people celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with food, parades, fireworks, and bonfires which stand in for the explosives. The straw representations of Fawkes are burned, although, in recent times, figures of modern political leaders have replaced Guy in these celebrations.

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