Five Things You May Not Know About Bonfire Night

By Marsh

Posted 03/11/17

Remember, remember, the fifth of November gunpowder treason and plot!

We’re pretty certain that everybody knows the story of Guy Fawkes’ “gunpowder plot” to blow up Parliament and that, every year, we celebrate the foiling of the plot with Bonfire Night. But do you know these five little known facts about Guy and the night of fun and fireworks?

1. Celebrating Bonfire Night was mandatory until 1959. However, during the two World Wars act of Parliament to prevent enemy bombings, these celebrations had to be held indoors! [1]

2. Fireworks were invented completely by accident. Legend has it that a Chinese cook mixed together sulphur, charcoal and salt in a field kitchen and set them alight by accident. [2] However, the Smithsonian Museum believes it was more likely the result of an accidental mix of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal by Chinese alchemists around 600-900 CE, whilst they were searching for the elixir of life! [3]

3. St Peter’s School in York is the only place in the UK that doesn’t celebrate Bonfire Night. This is because Guy Fawkes attended the school as a boy, so it refuses to burn his effigy. [4]

4. The suggested origin for the word “bonfire” is thought to come from “bone-fire”. This dates back to when bones for celebrations or the bodies of heretics were burned. [5]

5. The Yeomen of the Guard still search The Houses of Parliament before its official state opening in November. This is to ensure that there isn’t a modern day equivalent, though this is more for ceremony, with full security measures in place. [6] 

Bonfire night is a great time for the family to get together and enjoy the fireworks, but remember to stay safe so everyone enjoys themselves. For more information on Bonfire Night safety tips for you and your family please visit The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) fireworks website: http://www.saferfireworks.com

 

Sources

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/34722156

[2] https://www.fireworks.com/fireworks-university/history-fireworks/

[3] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/14-fun-facts-about-fireworks-180951957

[4] http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/listsandlaughs/10783340.10_facts_about_Guy_Fawkes__fireworks_and_why_we_remember_Gunpowder_Plot_on_November_5/

[5] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bonfire

[6] http://www.parliament.uk/about/faqs/house-of-commons-faqs/gunpowder-plot/


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Posted 03/11/17

Author: Marsh

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