Happy Bonfire Night! In the UK (and also New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and parts of the British Caribbean), November 5th marks the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Also known as Guy Fawkes Day, this annual celebration commemorates when Catholic co-conspirators, in protest over Parliament’s treatment, failed in their attempt to blow up the House of Parliament (with King James I and the royal family inside). The plot went awry when their legendary leader, Guy Fawkes, was captured and tortured. Before he could be executed, he leapt from the gallows and broke his neck.
Today, Fawkes stands as a symbol of anarchist resistance, and his violent quest for accountability is simultaneously mocked and championed. Whatever your political stance, it’s hard not to love the festivities that take place on this night, which include fantastic fireworks displays and bonfires in which, traditionally, effigies of Guy Fawkes (appropriately called “guys”) are burnt. Since no celebration is complete without food, traditional tasty treats like bonfire toffee or treacle toffee (a hard, brittle molasses confection), parkin (a soft cake traditionally made with oatmeal and molasses), toffee apples (a.k.a. candy apples), and jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) are consumed. Yum!
Even if you won’t be able to join in any public festivities this year, never fear! You can still celebrate by cooking up some delicious Bonfire Night goodies, or even send out an e-card! You can also learn more about the event’s history and tradition here.
What about you, ModReaders? Do you celebrate Bonfire Night? If so, how?