Bonfire night celebrations – facts that will make you sparkle

Welcome to our Bonfire Night blog post! In this article we are going to take a look at what bonfire night celebrations are all about and even learn about the largest bonfire festivities in the world, which take place in Lewes in Sussex, just down the road from the Creased Cards store in Brighton.

  • Why we celebrate on 5th of November?
  • How Bonfire Night has become a calendar event in the UK
  • Bonfire night celebrations in Sussex
  • Firework reactions with brilliantly funny greetings cards

Before we get started with all the fun fireworks facts we will show you some cracking cards that are guaranteed to be opened with a bang, make your loved ones say ‘oh-ah’ and generally sparkle… (we’ve run out of fireworks puns now). Remember, we have a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour so if you don’t mind a few rude laughs this will be right up your street, if not just focus your eyes on the wholesome handcrafted first option!

Our top three firework cards

  1. This wonderful, handcrafted option is published by our pal Janie Wilson and is copper foiled, flittered and finished with glass crystals. A metallic copper envelope completes this dazzling delight! Get it here.
  2. You have to hand it to them, Buddy Fernandez cards say it like it is. The ‘Babbling’ range are a to-the-point selection of bright, bold and clear cards! Printed on FSC certified sustainable card too, so make sure you recycle that cracking personality! Get it here.
  3. If your friends have recently had a baby and you want to give them a card with a cheeky ‘bang’, then this is the choice for you! Get it here.

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

Why, is it your aunties birthday on that day? Quick, get her a card here! The date of 5Th November has become a calendar event in the UK because of Bonfire Night. So much so that it even has a rhyme that has been passed down over 400 years. There are many versions of the classic rhyme marking the date that have survived in different parts of England since the 17th century, but the most famous verse is below:

“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot”

Do you know the rhyme in a different form with different words? If so, why not check out this link to discover the rest of the poem.

What is the story behind bonfire night celebrations?

It all started in 1605 in England when Warwickshire-born Catholic Robert Catesby and his friends planned kill the King. We know he also planned to eradicate other nobles and minsters. He wanted to destroy the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605.

The plot came from a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries furious at the persecution of their faith in England. They wished for a better treatment from the new monarch James I. After 45 years of hounding under the reign of Elizabeth I they took matters into their own hands.

The plotters rented a house nearby and smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder which is around 2.5 metric tons. They put it into a cellar under the palace ready to light the fuse. The explosives were discovered with hours to spare because an anonymous tip-off warned a powerful person to stay away. To this day the cellars under the Houses of Parliament are ceremonially searched before the annual State Opening.

Guy Fawkes – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The infamous Guy “Guido” Fawkes is often wrongly attributed with being the plot’s ringleader. He was merely just the trigger man drafted in to set the fuse.

Guy was a mercenary fighting for the Spanish against the Protestant Dutch. Given his expertise in explosives he was charged with setting and lighting the fuse to the gunpowder. Unfortunately his actions were halted when he was caught red-handed by the King’s men beneath the palace and was tortured for two days at the Tower of London until he gave up his co-conspirators.

Traditional punishments for traitors in 17th-century England involved being hanged, drawn and quartered in public. Fawkes would have been forced to watch as his own testicles were cut off and his innards ripped out… ouch! As he awaited his punishment on the gallows, this 35 year old Guy leapt from the platform and broke his neck.

Years later, 5th November was declared a national holiday and people began burning effigies of Fawkes – called ‘Guys’. Years later, setting off fireworks has come to represent the gunpowder explosions… that didn’t happen.

Guy Fawkes in Popular Culture

Most recently Game of Thrones star actor Kit Harrington appeared in a BBC series titled Gunpowder, which follow the run up the fascinating piece of British History that is the Gunpowder Plot.

The image of Guy Fawkes is used by the main character of the 2006 dystopian political action film V for Vendetta. It is directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowskis. Based on the 1988 DC/Vertigo Comics series by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It is set in an alternative future where a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist totalitarian regime has subjugated the United Kingdom. The main character of the film centres on V. an anarchist and masked freedom fighter who attempts to ignite a revolution through elaborate acts. If you haven’t seen it we definitely recommend giving it a watch.

“The Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny. I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

The illustrator of V for Vendetta, David Lloyd speaks about the iconic character’s legacy

100,000’s of Guy Fawkes masks which were made iconic by the film have been sold every year since the film’s release in 2011. Why not get your hands on an official mask and wear it during lockdown to surprise your neighbours. It will certainly make them look twice next time you go to put the bins out – get your official mask here.

Bonfire night celebrations in Sussex

Lewes Bonfire is a set of celebrations held in the town of Lewes, Sussex. It is home to the UK’s largest and most famous Bonfire Night festivities, giving Lewes the title of ‘bonfire capital of the world’.

The Lewes celebrations are always held on 5 November, unless the 5th falls on a Sunday in which case it’s held on Saturday 4th. The event not only marks the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 but also commemorates the memory of seventeen Protestant martyrs. They were people from the town who were burned at the stake for their faith during the Marian Persecutions.

There are seven societies putting on six separate processions and firework displays throughout Lewes on 5 November. As well as this, 25–30 societies from all around Sussex come to Lewes on the fifth to march the streets. This can mean up to 5,000 people taking part in the celebrations, and up to 80,000 spectators attending in the county market town which has a general population of just over 17,000.

This year however due to social distancing and enforced Government lockdown measures, not only have we had to close the Creased Cards shop in Brighton’s world-famous lanes, of course you can still shop online here, it also means that public gatherings for bonfire night celebrations and fireworks displays have been postponed. If you are local to Brighton why not have a look here at the official guidelines for this year and also check out the gallery of spectacular fireworks shows from previous years.

Have fun & stay safe!

Whether you are lucky enough to have a garden to put on your own backyard firework bonanzas with the family watching in awe, have a front yard to wave a sparkler around with your flatmate or are sitting by the window in your fifth floor flat watching displays from afar – please stay safe out there!

Check out all the firework safety regulations here to ensure you have a 5th November to remember for all the right reasons!

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