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Guy Fawkes Day Tradition

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'Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot, We see no reason, Why gunpowder treason, Should ever be forgot".This old children's rhyme captures the sentiment heralds a four centuries old celebration around the world- Guy Fawkes Day.On November 5th, 1605 Guy Fawkes and Catholic co-conspirators, in a scheme later called the Gunpowder Plot, attempted to assassinate King James I and kill members of the House of Lords by blowing up the House of Parliament. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was found, torture and executed for high treason. Some four centuries following the plot, the British and those of British descent celebrate the anniversary of this failed revolution.


The very site of the Guy Fawkes legend starts in England. And as such, there are several large celebrations of the holiday. In the United Kingdom, there are private and public celebrations occur across towns and villages. In some celebrations, there are fireworks displays and bonfires. Parties and carnivals are also widespread. Local children generally collect firewood for the community bonfires and in some localities, or dressed in ragged costumes beg for pennies to purchase fireworks (and sweets.) Even the Royal Guard gets involved with its annual, ceremonial, search of Parliament. In some towns, the tradition is to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the Gunpowder Conspirators, but, this is not done in Guy's home township of York In other towns, there a barrel rolls and others start the night off with torch processionals.

Traditions go beyond booms and whistles. On Guy Fawkes day, there are feasts. The menu could include roasted chestnuts, toffee apples, black treacle toffees, parkin, black beans, jacket potatoes, sausages, and thick vegetable soups.

The Guy Fawkes Night is not as celebrated in Ireland, which associates it bonfires and fireworks more with All Hallows Eve or Halloween.


The spirit of revolution was wide spread during the 1600s. In former British colonies and territories, the Day is not marked with as much circumstance as in Mother England, but it remains a common holiday.

Guy Fawkes Day is called by many names. In Colonial America, it was called Pope's Day. In Australia, the holiday is known as Cracker Day. In most of the world, it is known as Bonfire Night. Across the world, there are bonfires and fireworks. Unique twists to the international celebrations are influenced by history, culture and environmental and safety concerns.

In the islands of Caribbean, the celebration takes on its own unique character. In Bermuda, in the aftermath of the Boer War, islanders do not burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, but instead burn one of Anna Maria Outerbridge, a leader of a "Boer Relief Committee. In Saint Vincent and in the Grenadines, fireworks are set off and fields are set ablaze on Guy Fawkes Night. In The Bahamas, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated with music and family fun as well as the traditional fireworks and bonfires. Guy Fawkes is celebrated in South Africa, America and Canada by those citizens of British descent also with a mix of fireworks and bonfires. And, depending on your spot on the globe, the food of the Day can range from barbeque ribs and jerk chicken to corned beef and shredded turnips to pumpkin soups and scotch eggs.

While continued celebration of Guy Fawkes Day is being impacted by public safety and environmental concerns, the bonfire still burn bright across the world. Whether you celebrate the failed revolution or just like Fall bonfires, this holiday is a fun option for all.

For more information about Guy Fawkes Day/Night and the holiday's traditions, check out the following websites:,8599,1856603,00.html

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