Bonfire Night, alternatively called Guy Fawkes Night has unfortunately landed on the same day as the UK's second national lockdown, meaning that any plans made for bonfire night have most likely been cancelled. Of course, many people within their households will have their own private fireworks show, but for many single person families or those unable to celebrate the day; This article is here to remove some of that boredom with facts and jokes related to Bonfire Night!

So let's begin:

1.     Did you know that it was not actually Guy Fawkes that organised the plan to blow up the houses of parliament but was Robert Catesby? Catesby was a member of a Roman Catholic family and was angered by the government for his fathers persecution after not listening to the Church of England. His ill will towards King James I and the the government is what led him to create the plan to blow up parliament. When the plan was foiled, he fled and was later killed for resisting the government troops.

2.    When Guy Fawkes was found, he was guarding the explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. When he was captured, he was tortured until he ultimately gave up the names of his counterparts.

3.     It was over 400 years ago, when a team of Thirteen Catholics came together to blow up the houses of parliament along with King James I. Among the members, included Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby.

4.     As mentioned in fact 1, Guy Fawkes was not the organised behind the famous plot of blowing up the Houses of Parliament. Fawkes was there to be the explosives expert, of course that did not matter in the end.

5.    Upon discovering the plot, King James I ordered the people of England to create bonfires on November 5 and to be topped off with an effigy of the Catholic Pope. Even though now, the lit bonfires signify burning the "Guy" which is a dummy that represents Fawkes.

6.    Did you know the team had gathered a huge 36 barrels of gun powder in the cellars of the House of Parliament. That certainly would have been a firework show to awaken the whole of London.

7.   What do you get if you cross a dinosaur with a firework? ... "Dinomite"

8.    The campaign to blow up parliament was foiled by one of the Catholic Gunpowder team itself . One of the members (historians say most likely Francis Tresham) has a friend in parliament. So the person in question wrote a letter to him and his colleagues warning them to stay away on the 5th November.

9.   Who was Francis Tresham? He was a member of the group that was not as extreme as its other members about blowing up parliament. At one point Catesby interrogated him at knife point. Tresham tried (and failed) to dissuade the other members from the plot as it would blow up both Catholic and Protestant members of parliament. After writing the letter and claiming to "help the officers" Tresham was tried the same as the other members, treason and heresy.

10.   The name "bonfire" actually derives from the term "bone fire". As you can guess from its original name, people in the middle ages would create these fires to burn bones.

11.  Fireworks were invented as a result of an accident, a Chinese cook during the 10th century accidently mixed three ingredients that was common in cooking at the time. Those happen to be sulphur, charcoal and a salt substitute. When set alight it resulted in colourful flames, without a doubt that surprised the cook! It is also known that 90% of all fireworks created are from China.

12.   It was not until the 14th Century when fireworks reached Europe. The first fireworks display that was recorded in Europe was Italy.

13.   In turn, the first recorded fireworks display in England was at King Henry VII's wedding. Dating all the way back to 1486.

14.   Had Guy Fawkes managed to light the 36 barrels or 2,500kg of gun powder underneath the parliament, the damage caused by the explosion would reach almost 500 metres.

15.  Don't fancy celebrating bonfire night? Well you are lucky, as up until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate bonfire night in the UK.

16.  The Yeomen of the guard to this day still search the Houses of Parliament on November 5th, you never know someone might feel like becoming the next guy Fawkes. However if they get caught we might have two bonfire nights a year.

17.  Please be caution when playing with sparklers, they burn up to 1,500C. Three of them together would be equivalent to a blowtorch flame. When handing a sparkler to a child make sure an adult is there to supervise. They are not toys! 

18. Guy Fawkes was apparently one of the last to be hired to the group and was considered the mastermind of the operation because of his gunpowder expertise which, at the time, a rare skill to have.

19.  During the plot, Guy Fawkes used the name Jon Johnson and gave that name when he was arrested. It took four days under torture for Guy to give up his team.

20.  Approximately £15 million is spent on fireworks every year in the UK! Which explains the constant stream of fireworks in the middle of the night from those noisy neighbours.

There it is, 19 facts about Bonfire Night and a hidden joke amongst the list. Below there is a crossword based on the facts above, see how much of it you can complete. Once again the second national lockdown has just begun. So throughout the week please celebrate bonfire night with your own households and do not mix. Please also listen to the government guidelines, it is the only way we can reduce the cases of COVID-19.

Download Bonfire Newsletter

Answer Sheet