Skip to Main Content

A Guide to Bonfire Night: The History and Where To Go

What is bonfire night all about? And why do we set off fireworks? And many more of your possible questions answered below. Read on until the end to find out where you can spend your Bonfire Night this 5th of November.

Hello All!

Now the first week of November is here, and Diwali is finished for the year, you’re probably wondering why you can still hear fireworks. That is because Bonfire Night is fast approaching.

Before Queen Elizabeth I died, Catholicism was something to be worshipped behind closed doors. Many priests died under Queen Elizebeth I’s rule, and according to Catholics, they could not celebrate mass or be married. When King James I took to the throne in 1603, many thought that King James would be more accepting of Catholicism.

But they were wrong.

In 1604, he said that Catholicism was a superstition to the public. He ordered Catholic priests to leave England and expressed that the numbers of Catholics were increasing. He also brought in fines for those refusing to attend Protestant services.

Under Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, English Catholics organised several failed conspiracies against her, and these only continued under King James I. One of the most famous, is the Gunpowder Plot which aimed to kill King James I in parliament on November 5th by Guy Fawkes and 8 other conspirators.

The plan was that on November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes would like a fuse during the opening of a new session of Parliament. King James, his eldest son, the House of Lords and the House of Commons would all be blown up whilst Guy Fakwes escaped by boat down the Thames. At the same time, his fellow conspirators would be causing trouble in the Midlands – kidnapping James’ daughter and marry her off to a Catholic.

Spoiler Alert: The plan was figured out by authorities

On November 4th, a search party found Guy Fakwes hiding in his cellar around midnight, with matches in his pocket and 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was arrested and tortured by special orders of the King. His fellow conspirators were arrested, and they were all found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering in January 1606.

So, why do we celebrate November 5th?

After the public was told about the plot, Londoners began lighting bonfires to celebrate the survival of the King, and thus began what we know now as “Bonfire Night.” Bonfire Night is a time to get togethe with friends and family. Set of fireworks, light bonfires and toast marshmallows on the side.

Where can you go this Bonfire Night?

Abbey Park is once again hosting their own fireworks. It is the city’s official firework showing. Children’s firework display take place a 6:45pm, then the lighting of the bonfire will take place shortly after. There’s live entertainment, a funfair and plenty of hot food stalls to keep yourself warm during the night.

Rainbows Charity are also holding their own firework display at the Leicester Racecourse in Oadby. It’s one of the biggest Fireworks events in Leicester. There will be two firework displays, to sets of music – one for little ears, and then a second one for adults. During the night, Billy Bates funfair will be there, live music, plenty of food options and even the chance to meet Filbert Fox.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent, to blow up the King and the Parliament. Three score barrels of powder below, poor old England to¬†overthrow, by God’s providence he was catch’d, with a dark lantern and burning match. Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring. Holler boys, holler boys. God save the King!

Back to Top