Festival: Bonfire night

The game is afoot!

(The game has begun / The process is underway)

Vocabulary Meaning
TraitorPeople trust you but you lie to them and do something against them.
GunpowderThis is black powder that can explode.
PlotA plot is a secret plan to do something bad or illegal.
LawsThese say what you can do [legal], and what you can’t do [illegal].
CatholicsThese are people who believe in Jesus, the son of god, and follow the Pope in Rome.
ExecutedYou are put to death [sentenced to death] because you did something wrong.
TreasonSomeone does something bad against their own country.
ArrestedYou are taken to the police station by the police because you did something against the law.
TraditionalSomething that has been done for a long time and belongs to a group of people. It’s part of their culture and can involve art, music, food Etc.


In November 1605, the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ took place in which a group of Catholics planned to blow up the English government and King James l [First]. The attempt failed and the story is remembered every 5th November.

Why did Guy Fawkes want to kill King James I [First]

When Queen Elizabeth 1st became queen of England she made some laws against the Catholics. Guy Fawkes was one of a small group of Catholics who felt the government was treating Catholics very badly.

They hoped that King James I would change the laws, but he didn’t. In fact, King James I, made more laws which were also against Catholics. This made Guy Fawkes and the other Catholics very angry, which is the reason why they came up with the ‘gunpowder plot’ in 1605 to kill the king.

The Houses of Parliament
Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes discovered just in time

Guy Fawkes was given the job to look after the 36 barrels of gunpowder, [see photos below], which were under the Houses of parliament. However, on the morning of 5th November, soldiers found Guy Fawkes just in time and arrested him.

He was taken to the Tower of London and questioned. He told the truth about what he and the other 12 men planned to do. The other men were arrested soon after, and all of them were executed on the order of the King. As a result, Guy Fawkes is known as the most famous traitor in England.

Barrel of gunpowder
Guy Fawkes hiding

To remember the day

To celebrate the King not being killed, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the 5th November every year. So, since that day of November 5th 1605, bonfire night has been celebrated in England with bonfires, fireworks and burning effigies [see below] of Guy Fawkes.

Bonfire Night in England

Throughout England, people celebrate this event with events such as below:


There are bonfires all over England. We have bonfires because when people found out the King was saved in 1605, everyone in London lit bonfires to celebrate.

So, we have kept this tradition.


We also set off fireworks as a way to celebrate this event. The fireworks represent the gunpowder that was used in the attempt to kill the king.

They light up the sky and are great to watch.

Burning effigy

The Guy (effigy) is made out of old clothes filled with paper. The effigy is meant to be Guy Fawkes. It is burned on top of the bonfire to show that he was executed for treason.

Other popular traditions

Funfairs around England

This is one of the best times to be in England as the atmosphere at this time is fantastic. Not only are there bonfires and fireworks everywhere, there are also funfairs for the whole family to unwind [relax] and enjoy.

And if you do go to these funfairs, make sure you try some of the traditional food. See below.

Traditional Bonfire Night Food

If you are feeling hungry and want to eat some local grub [Local food] while watching the bonfires and the fireworks, there are some traditional foods that are a must try!

The traditional cake eaten on bonfire night is ‘Parkin Cake’, a very sweet cake with syrup [sweet sauce]. Other foods include sausages, baked potatoes, toffee apples and marshmallows. All of it is divine [delicious]!

It is a great festival that is full of history, culture and fun!

Parkin cake
Baked potato with cheese on top
Toffee apples
Hot chocolate & marshmallows

Remember, Remember the 5th of November.

Gunpowder, treason & plot!