Remember November 5: History of Guy Fawkes and fireworks

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With fireworks night approaching, let’s discuss the history of this celebration. This article will go through the history of Guy Fawkes and fireworks, and finish with details on fireworks celebrations you can attend tomorrow.

History of Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes was a British soldier and is the most known for being involved in the gunpowder plot. This plot aimed to blow up Westminster palace as the opening of parliament held James I and many others. So, the reasoning for this plot was based on the increasing oppression of Catholics within England.

Fawkes was part of a well-known Yorkshire family who converted to Catholicism but eventually left Protestant England in 1593 to enlist in the Spanish Army. He later became known for his outstanding courage and resilience during his time as a soldier.

As a result, the was recruited for the gunpowder plot, where he put gunpowder under the parliament building and blew it up with James I and the chief minister in the building. Robert Catesby led the group of Catholics looking for reprisal. Moreover, they had hired a bunker that extended underneath the parliament building.

Fawkes and this plot were discovered, resulting in the arrest of Fawkes on the night of November 4 leading into November 5. He was tortured and eventually revealed his accomplices. Finally, he was to be executed across from parliament.

And so, we have celebrated this failed assassination attempt for hundreds of years with fireworks and bonfires.

History of fireworks

Many historians believe that fireworks may have originated in the second century BC in ancient China (Luoyang).

Bamboo stalks were thrown into a fire, and they would explode audibly due to the heat pockets within. They were used to ward off evil spirits and are considered the first natural ‘firecrackers’.

In approximately 600 to 900 AD, it is suggested gunpowder was invented by a Chinese alchemist who mixed potassium nitrate, sulphur and charcoal. This gunpowder was put into hollowed bamboo sticks. Thus, producing the first ‘fireworks’.

Eventually, fireworks found their way to Europe in the 13th century. By the 15th century, fireworks were commonly used for religious events and celebrations.

And since then, we all still love a good firework display for various celebrations.

Fireworks to attend

There are many local and relatively close significant fireworks events you can attend tomorrow.

A few are listed below with links to details:

Final notes

There are events tonight (November 4), tomorrow (November 5) and the day after (November 6).

Finally, it is important to be mindful of animals as fireworks night is a scary time for them. Comfort your pets.

Enjoy your fireworks night!

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Final year Biology & Psychology student with a keen interest in music, food and lifestyle pieces.

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