Each year on 5 November, residents of Great Britain celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with traditional bonfires, elaborate fireworks displays and funfairs.
Celebration of Guy Fawkes Nights stems from the Gunpowder Plot, where an assassination attempt was made on the presiding King James I on 5 November 1605. However, the plot to blow up the House of Lords was foiled and the perpetrator, a man named Guy Fawkes, was imprisoned within the Tower of London.
To celebrate the fact that King James I had survived, people across London lit bonfires. Shortly after that the day was earmarked as a national observance, a festival that still remains to this day. All across Great Britain on both the 5th of November and the nearest weekend, cities, towns and villages hold events to mark the date. Smaller gatherings build a bonfire and craft a traditional ‘guy’ who sits atop the bonfire as it burns. Larger events involve funfairs, elaborate fireworks displays and a ceremonious lighting of a bonfire.
The best place to be for this year’s celebrations are within the Tower of London itself, which is holding a re-enactment of the events of 1605. One upon a time the mere mention of the forbidding tower would strike fear into mere mortals. As well as Guy Fawkes, Anne Boleyn and Rudolf Hess were also prisoners of the Tower of London.
And did you know that even today, more than 400 years after the incident, the cellars beneath the Palace of Westminster are still searched prior to the State Opening of Parliament? This is where Guy Fawkes was found and the authorities were eager to ensure that the Gunpowder Conspiracy was not repeated!