Bonfire Night – Its History & Modern Celebrations

Bonfire Night Blog – Introduction

On the 5th November every year, people all over the UK light bonfires and enjoy fireworks displays in celebration of Bonfire Night. But what are we actually celebrating and when did it all start? Throughout this blog I will explore the background of this historic occasion, talk about its traditions and why this year things may be a little different.


Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night and Fireworks Night) is an annual celebration, marked on November 5th, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The Gunpowder Plot was led by a group of passionate Roman Catholics who were enraged at King James I for refusing to grant greater religious tolerance to Catholics. With the intention to kill the King and members of parliament, their plan was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The overall aim was to clear the way to re-establishing Catholic rule in England. A member of the plot, named Guy Fawkes, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Ultimately, this meant the plan had failed.

Those passionate Catholics who led the Gunpowder Plot - including the famous Guy Fawkes.
Group who led the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

To celebrate the fact that King James l had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London. Months later, Parliament declared November 5th a national day of thanksgiving, and the first celebration of it took place in 1606. The traditions established then survive to this day!

Modern Celebrations

Today, Bonfire Night is still celebrated by the lighting of bonfires but also with parades, spectacular firework displays, sparklers and yummy food. Straw effigies of Guy Fawkes are also commonly tossed onto the Bonfire, which is now more of a quirky tradition rather than an expression of hostility. In short, on the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and firework displays fill the sky.

Fireworks and Bonfire with a crowd of people watching.
Bonfire and Fireworks Display.

The extent of the festivities and size of the bonfires vary from one community to another. For example, Lewes in the South East of England, is famous for its Bonfire Night festivities attracting thousands of people each year. Whilst small villages located around the country put on more intimate affairs.


Lastly, the occasion is not just celebrated in Britain. With the traditions crossing the oceans and establishing themselves in British Colonies during the centuries, Bonfires still light up in far out places such as New Zealand and Newfoundland in Canada.

Bonfire Night 2020

2020 has been different to say the least, however we are determined to not let COVID ruin our favourite time of year! With the rule of 6 put in place many professional displays have been cancelled, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. To help you create your very own awe-inspiring fireworks display we here at Fantastic fireworks are offering a number of display packs, ready to be lit from your garden! These have been handpicked by our team of experts to create brilliant displays guaranteed to thrill your audience and are currently included in our amazing deal of up to 25% off!

Each pack varies in size and price, so whether you are wanting an immense firework display packed with loud bangs and colossal rockets, or a more subtle demonstrations filled with quiet fireworks and pretty effects, we have it all!

3 of Fantastic Fireworks party display packs available online.
Bonfire Night Part Packs – Available online & in store.

Check out our amazing range of garden fireworks here. Our amazing range include multishot fireworks, rockets, low noise fireworks, wheels, fountains, sparklers, and single ignition fireworks. In addition, you can even come and visit us at the Rocket Shop where you will find further deals and sale items!

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