Do you know the rhyme “Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot”? Bonfire Night, or Fireworks Night, commemorates the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his fellow Roman Catholic conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, with the Protestant King James I inside. The barrels of gunpowder were discovered, the plot was foiled and the conspirators were executed by the traditional method for traitors
— they were hanged, drawn and quartered. Some Catholics prefer not to take part in Bonfire Night events, especially where the traditional “guy”— an effigy of Guy Fawkes — is burned. For most people, the events of 1605 are just a good excuse to let off some fireworks, to enjoy the heat of a blazing bonfire and to watch the flames leaping into the night sky. The fireworks display lasts for only a few minutes, but it’s the grand finale of the evening. Rockets shoot up into the night sky and explode into a thousand stars. The whizzes and bangs of the fireworks are followed by gasps and cheers from the watching crowd of people.