Guy Fawkes Night is a unique British celebration that mixes the commemoration of a historic event -Guy Fawkes’ foiled attempt to blow up Parliament- with bonfire celebrations that go back to the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. This tradition is known for public and private fireworks displays and huge public bonfires all over the UK. Since this year November 5 is on a Sunday, a lot of the major events around London will be taking place on Saturday night.
Remember, Remember, The 5th Of November
On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes On November 5, Guy Fawkes was caught red handed in his attempt to blow up Parliament and King James I in 1605 and his plan to escape across the Thames and leave England was foiled.
The date is most commonly remembered thanks to the popular rhyme: “Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot.” In 1606 Parliament established November 5 as a national day of thanksgiving, which over time evolved into what’s know today as Bonfire Night.
Guy Fawkes Night Fire Festivals
This celebration is a great time to enjoy the fun of the traditional Bonfire Night food and drink, alongside music, funfairs and family activities. The date of the Gunpowder Plot coincided with the end of the English harvest season.
The fireworks that are now a staple of this festivity is a reminder of the barrels of gunpowder, meanwhile the huge bonfires mirror old seasonal traditions that were part of Celtic harvest festival of Samhain.
It’s All About The Traditions
Some of the celebrations for this festivity have changed with the times. There’s The “guy”, an effigy of Guy Fawkes that is still usually thrown on the bonfire. Visitors can enjoy the fun of huge public fireworks displays and he primal excitement of watching a huge bonfire.
An old tradition was to put sausages on sticks into the bonfire and roast potatoes. Nowadays sausages and potatoes, sausages and mash are still a popular Guy Fawkes meal and street vendors sell them at practically all the public events.
Fireworks All Over London
Anywhere in the UK will have a fun display going. Tourists can follow the groups of families who’ll be partying on the streets from about 6pm onwards on Saturday, November 4th. London already has set different events to commemorate this festivity.
Alexandra Palace in north London has its usual firework extravaganza starting at 7.30pm; it also has indoor and outdoor funfairs and an ice rink. Tickets are £2 and they’ll open from 4.30-11pm. ‘Ally Pally’s’ on a hill has a great views across London to the centre of town and it’s one of the top spots to watch from.
For anyone in West London there’ll be a huge event in Battersea Park on Saturday November 4, organized by Wandsworth Council. It’ll open at 6.30pm, the bonfire will be lit at 7.30pm and the firework display is at 8pm, tickets are £5.
Right on the Eastern side of London just South of Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory Lewisham Council will be holding a free event for 40,00 people at Blackheath. This is a big wide open area where visitors and locals can enjoy a good view.