If you’re not from Britain or are new to the UK, you may be unfamiliar with our amazing tradition of Bonfire Night. Every year on the 5th of November, we remember Guy Fawkes and his Gun Powder Treason Plot in the most special and fun ways!
Every major town and city in the UK holds a breath-taking bonfire and firework display, and while most towns and cities have different traditions, the bones of the celebration stay the same.
Some traditions have remained the same across Britain, some have been forgotten about, and new traditions have begun… The point is, Bonfire Night is huge in the UK. Let’s take a look at some of the fun traditions:
Firework and Bonfire Displays
Alexandra Palace, London – providing unbeatable panoramic views of London, this display also includes a March of the Phoenix parade with fire eaters. I’ve never attended myself, but it is definitely on my bucket list.
Drayton Manor, Birmingham – The 2017 display was the biggest display the venue had seen yet and featured music from Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy – perfect for you sci-fi fans.
Lewes Bonfire, East Sussex – thousands of spectators are joined by marching bands on the cobbled streets of Lewes every year for a grand bonfire procession. Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations is meant to be one of the best in the UK – and when you see the images, you can see why!
Ottery St Mary, Devon – in this UK village, villagers haul flaming barrels of tar on their backs through the streets of Ottery St Mary. It is unclear as to why this tradition actually started, but the community actively embraces it – so why not!
Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire – voted as one of the best displays in the UK, Tutbury Castle holds an evening of fierce Viking fighting, pyrotechnic displays, living history camp and even stage a ‘Viking funeral’. Bonfire night is taken seriously at Tutbury Castle, with costumed reenactments, a BBQ, bar and children’s entertainment! For families, Tutbury Castle is 100% one to experience while the kids are still young.
Taken very seriously by us Brits, Bonfire Night food warms the soul. On a night where you are guaranteed bitter weather and not always a place by the bonfire, food is sometimes the only way to warm yourself up! Here are some of the UK’s favourites:
Bangers and mash
Jacket potatoes wrapped in foil – cooked on the bonfire for a proper flamed taste.
Porkpie and mushy peas – don’t forget the mint sauce!
Toffee apples – not the same unless it's smothered around your mouth.
Bonfire toffee – hands down the best thing about the 5th of November!
Yorkshire parkin – YUM!
Penny for the Guy
This tradition has died out now, but back in the 1980’s nearly a quarter of schoolchildren would craft their own Guy Fawkes out of rags and newspaper and ask for “a penny for the guy”. With Halloween trick or treating being a few days before, it took over the Penny for the Guy tradition and is still popular to this day.
Until 1859, it was illegal NOT to celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain. The only place in the country that had an exemption to this law was St Peter’s School in York. This was the school where Guy Fawkes was a pupil.