Student Life

10 fun facts about Bonfire Night

  1. Bonfire Night is celebrated on November 5th – the day in 1605 that Guy Fawkes (the greatest Yorkshireman in history except for our Iain) and 12 others attempted to assassinate King James I by blowing up the House of Commons. The plan failed, Guy was caught, and be became an effigy for Royalists and Protestants to burn every year. Nice and British.
  2. Guy wasn’t hung, drawn and quartered as is widely reported, even though this method of torture was all the rage in 1600s England, he died from a broken neck after leaping from the gallows in a bid to avoid being castrated and disembowelled while still alive. He was still quartered after, though.
  3. Fireworks didn’t begin with Guy though; the first fireworks were set off at the wedding of Henry VII in 1486. Bet they were all like, ‘what is THAAAAAAAAAAT????’
  4. There’s a cool reason you see the explosion before the sound of fireworks – Sound travels at 761mph, while light travels at 671,000,000 mph. Remember to tell your friends that tonight – You’re welcome.
  5. Up until 1959, it was the law to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, one rebel school disobeyed this. Guy went to St Peter’s School in York, and they continue to refuse to burn the effigy of its former pupil.
  6. The plan to kill the king was foiled after one of Guy’s team wrote to a friend in parliament telling him to keep clear from the Houses of Parliament on November 5th. One job. You had one job, Colin. Sheeesh.
  7. The origin of the ‘bonfire’ comes from ‘bone fire’, which at the time was the name given to the burning of witches, heretics and bones. Again, nice and British.
  8. The Institute of Physics conducted research that stated the 2,500kg explosion of gunpowder could have likely extended over 490 metres, destroying Westminster Hall, the Abbey and stretched as far as Whitehall. How different it could have been, eh?
  9. Brit’s being bonkers had to take it too far and in East Devon village’s locals taking turns to carry large barrels of BURNING TAR on their shoulders in celebration – watch the insanity here>
  10. Guy Fawkes Night produces the highest proportion of terrible photographs than any other time of year. Fact. Here is a handy guy to avoid being part of that awful, awful statistic.

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