Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, or as a big percentage of the UK knows it as the day to find animal friendly noise cancelling headphones. The reason for this is people all around the UK set off fireworks, start bonfires, and light a sparkler or two.
An old tradition was called 'Penny for the Guy' where children used to create a 'guy' which would represent Guy Fawkes, they’d wander around the town asking 'penny for the guy' before putting him on a bonfire, (nothing like a little extra pocket money!)
This all may seem like a bit of fun, but the history of this tradition is quite serious.
On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes, who was one of the 13 Catholic members of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives (apparently 36 barrels of gunpowder!) that had been placed beneath the House of Lords.
The intent was to blow up King James I and his government. (If they had managed to light the gunpowder there would have been a damage radius of almost 500 meters!)
The reason why they wanted the King dead is because he failed to overturn anti-Catholic laws set in place by Queen Elizabeth I, he ordered all Catholic priests to leave the country.
After news of the failed plot people lit bonfires as a way of celebrating the failed attempt on King James 1's life, not as a tribute to Fawkes.
Fun and not so fun facts!
During the 10th century a Chinese cook accidentally invented fireworks by mixing 3 different ingredients, which caused colourful flames of orange and white.
The word "bonfire" derives from the term "bone fire" in the Middle Ages, these fires were used in the cremations of witches or heretics.
Guy Fawkes was sentenced to the traditional traitor's death (hung, drawn and quartered), but he jumped from the gallows, breaking his neck, to avoid being drawn and quartered while still alive.
Up until 1959 it was illegal to NOT celebrate Bonfire night in Britain, although during WW1 and WW2 no one could set off fireworks or light bonfires, this was due to protecting the people by not showing the enemy their locations.