Bonfire Night


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How to roast your Sausage and Spuds in a fire of treason?

“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

should ever be forgot.


Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent

To blow up King and Parliament.

Three-score barrels of powder below

To prove old England’s overthrow;



By God’s providence he was catch’d

With a dark lantern and burning match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!"



November 5 is a day looked forward to by English children just as much as Halloween is looked forward to by American kids.  Despite its grisly and conspiratorial origins, Bonfire Night or Guy_Fawkes Night, is now celebrated in much the same as Americans might celebrate a combination of Halloween and the Fourth of July. 


Bonfire Night celebrates the discovery of the 1605 Gunpowder_Plot and subsequent apprehension of the conspirators.  A group of Catholic fanatics, wishing to execute James_I_of_England  – (James the VI of Scotland), and place a Catholic monarch on the thrown.  Their plan was to blow up the House_of_Lords  during the opening session.  The plot was discovered, Guy Fawkes and most of the conspirators were arrested and subsequently executed.

The event has been commemorated ever since, on the night of November 5, with bonfires and fireworks.


There are huge public bonfires and displays of fireworks, just like on the 4th of July, and like the 4th of July, there are small, neighborhood and private displays as well.  For several days beforehand, kids in the neighborhood will pile up rubbish to be burned the night of the fifth. 

“Penny for the Guy Mister, penny for the Guy?”


Also, for a week or two prior to November 5, children will make effigies of Guy Fawkes, usually by stuffing some old cloths and putting a hat on it.  They put these “Guys,” in their wagons and haul them around crying, “Penny for the Guy Mister (or Misses), penny for the Guy?”  People will give them a bit of spare change which is usually used to buy fireworks.


On the evening of November 5, the bonfires set alight, the “Guys” are thrown on it and burned, and the fireworks are lit.

penny for the guy por lomoD.xx.


There was a time when people would cook their suppers in the embers of the bonfires.  The traditional foods were, soup, roasting potatoes and sausages.  Parkin Cake, a Yorkshire specialality, is another Bonfire night tradition.  You most likely won’t be heating soup or  roasting potatoes and sausages over a bonfire on November, but what could be a more welcome supper on a chill November night than potatoes and roasted sausages, and this recipe for English Pub_Spuds, is a tasty way to serve them.  You might also enjoy this traditional soup to help chase away the chill.  Top it off with a square of Yorkshire_Parkin_Cake and you have a right proper Northern English meal.  What better way to learn about other people than through their food.


Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November!







        Copyright © 2008 - Geraldine Dunc





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