10 Sparkling Bonfire Night Facts

Bonfire Night is on its way, and we can practically hear the fireworks! In celebration of Guy Fawkes and his conspirators failing to blow up the Houses of Parliament or King James I on 5th November 1605, most Commonwealth countries celebrate the event on 5th November every year. So, brush up on your knowledge of the event with 10 Bonfire Night facts.

1. Guy Fawkes

guy fawkes

Guy Fawkes was not the only conspirator behind the Gunpowder Plot, as he and 12 others conspired to blow up parliament. However, he did have one of the most important roles, as he was in charge of guarding the gunpowder. If he was not caught, he also would have been guilty of lighting it.

2. Bone-fire


The word bonfire is a derivative from ‘bone-fire’, as bodies of witches, heretics and other unusual characters were burnt instead of buried on holy ground in the Middle Ages.

3. Mandatory Celebration

bonfire night

It was illegal NOT to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK until 1959. There are worse laws out there!

4. The Explosion

fireworks bonfire night

If Guy Fawkes had succeeded in lighting the 2500kg of gunpowder, he would have caused damage within a radius of nearly 500 metres.

5. St Peter’s School

guy fawkes bonfire night

St Peter’s School in York refuses to celebrate Bonfire Night, as Guy Fawkes was a student at the school and burning an effigy of their former pupil would be disrespectful.

6. Fireworks


Fireworks were invented by mistake. A Chinese cook came across the colourful creation when he mixed three common cooking ingredients together: charcoal, sulphur and a salt substitute. They were invented almost 2,000 years ago!

7. Japanese Translation


The word for firework in Japanese is ‘hanabi’, which translates to ‘fire-flower’.

8. The Fire Master

fireworks big ben

Queen Elizabeth I loved fireworks so much that she created the honorary title of ‘Fire Master of England’ for the person who created the finest fireworks.

9. Pope Paul V

pope paul V Effigy

While most people nowadays burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, Pope Paul V was the man that was used as an effigy until 1806, as he refused to allow Catholics to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.

10. Speed of Biplanes

fireworks bonfire night

Fireworks can travel at speeds of up to 150mph, which is the same speed as biplanes. Firework shells, however, can reach up to 200mph.

Have you got any interesting facts about Guy Fawkes Night? Tell us them by dropping a comment in the box below.

Learn more interesting facts about your favourite annual events and read 10 Christmas Facts to Make You Feel All Warm and Fuzzy Inside.

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1 Response

  1. November 4, 2015

    […] you know that until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK? And whilst such a law is no longer in place, many of us still look forward November 5th, when we […]

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