Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Night, is a British observed holiday that celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Gunpowder Plot, led by Robert Catesby, consisted of a group of Roman Catholics that were angered at King James I for his lack of religious toleration. This group of Roman Catholics was intent on blowing up the Palace of Westminster or the Parliamentary Houses in hopes of killing all members of Parliament. This murderous act would have led them to reestablish Catholic control of the monarchy and grant them the religious toleration they so desired. Unfortunate for them, they were betrayed and their plans were made public. This would result in the imprisonment and executions of many involved. This day would come to be named after one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes, who was tried and executed for the plot.

November 5th would come to be declared Guy Fawkes Day, a day in which British citizens would come together in celebration: setting off fireworks, lighting bonfires, feasting, and hosting parades. They would even throw straw versions of Guy Fawkes into the bonfires they made in remembrance of his execution and betrayal to the British government. Fireworks also play a large role in their celebrations as they are thought to symbolize the gunpowder explosives that were never used by the Roman Catholic conspirators. Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated across Britain, with major celebrations taking place at Lewes in southeastern England. This location has been granted the luxury of various contributions by the six major bonfire societies whose histories stretch all the way back to when the Gunpowder Plot had taken place. 

“Guy Fawkes Day.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

5 Nov 1605

Parent Chronology: