Remember, Remember The Fifth Of November… The Very British Tradition Of Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is a curious British tradition, which sees people across the country setting fire to things every November 5 to commemorate a failed attempt at setting fire to things hundreds of years ago.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot”

It was on this day in 1605 that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot. Fawkes was caught in the cellars and tortured until he gave up the names of those involved.

The Gunpowder plotters were convicted of treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Fawkes broke his neck falling from the gallows, sparing himself the agony of the ensuing mutilation. His body was then sent to the four corners of the kingdom as a warning to others.

Parliament declared November 5 a day of thanksgiving and it’s been celebrated ever since 1606. To mark the failed attempt at blowing up the Houses of Parliament, people set off fireworks, light bonfires and burn effigies known as a ‘guy’ in memory of the most famous of the conspirators.

fireworks on Bonfire night

Indeed, some places stills take the tradition very seriously. Tens of thousands descend on the pretty East Sussex town of Lewes on November 5 each year to see torch-lit processions by the six local bonfire societies.

They’re famed for their guys and this year alone saw effigies of Prime Minister David Cameron, suspended Fifa chief Sepp Blatter and former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson paraded and burnt.

These photos are from Bonfire Night at the Oaks Golf Club and Spa in Bubwith, North Yorkshire. There may have been no torch-lit procession but a great fireworks display and an impressive bonfire, watched while scoffing burgers and sipping mulled wine, made for a very pleasant evening indeed.

Copyright Natalie Marchant/Tales From Taliena

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