Guy Fawkes Facts: Why Do We Celebrate Bonfire Night?

Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. Do you remember the story of Guy Fawkes? Here are some facts about the famous plotter.


  • Guy Fawkes was born in Stonegate, York and while the exact date of his birth is unknown, it’s generally accepted to be 13th of April.
  • Guy fought in the 80 Years War for Catholic Spain.


  • The gunpowder plot was in planning for about a year and a half. It was carried out by Guy Fawkes and seven other co-conspirators.
  • Guy Fawkes night is also commemorated in New Zealand, Newfoundland in Canada and South Africa.
  • Until 1959, it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire night in Britain!


  • Fawkes and his seven co-conspirators were all found guilty. They were sentenced to death, with parts of their bodies displayed at ‘the four corners of the kingdom’ to warn other criminals.
  • The word ‘bonfire’ was originally ‘bone fire’, in reference to the ‘bones’ of the effigy burnt.


  • After the plot was foiled, people were encouraged to light bonfires in celebration. Bonfire night was born.
  • A Guy Fawkes mask is worn by the protagonist in the graphic novel V For Vendetta, the character fights against a fictional totalitarian government.
  • The Fawkes mask was also used during the Occupy Wall Street movement and internationally in various Occupy protests across the world, during the Arab Spring and by the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous as, to this day, his image is still used as a political statement.

Will you be remembering the 5th of November?

Images from M&S Literary Adventures, Son of Groucho, Bill Tyne and aimee castenell via Flickr.

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