Guy Fawkes Traditions

Guy Fawkes is soon approaching and I personally cannot wait! I love bonfire night so much because it reminds me of my childhood and all the old traditions of November the 5th. Here are a few facts and traditions about Guy Fawkes that you may not know..


Toffee apples

Toffee apples, also known as candy apples, are toffee/candy coated apples usually featuring a stick as a handle. The toffee apple is a typical Guy Fawkes treat (mostly because in Autumn it is apple season). The toffee apple originated when a man named William W. Kolb experimented with apples by dipping them into a red cinnamon sugar and placing them on display in his sweet shop. They became hugely popular and have now become a traditional treat on the 5th of November.


There are many different varieties of Toffee apples, I grew up with caramel coloured toffee apples with a shell like a hard wall of sugar that could break a tooth, engulfing the apple.


Sparklers hold a very special place in my heart, they always remind me of being really little and being able to draw various shapes in the air by magic. A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework (though I don’t suggest holding any other type of firework) that burns from end to end while emitting bright colourful flames. It consists of a metal rod coated in a slow burning pyrotechnic composition that when lit, can create wonderful shapes and patterns when you wave it in the air. These are often brought out at bonfire displays but be very careful as they are still very dangerous and can cause serious injuries! don’t forget to wear gloves if you are using them.


The Guy Fawkes bonfire tradition originated from 1605 – The gunpowder plot, which was intended to take place on 5th Nov. Guy Fawkes participated in the plot to blow up parliament and replace King James I of England (who was previously mentioned in my Slains Castle post) due to religious quarrels. Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder were placed under the House of Lords, however members of parliament received a tip-off and Guy Fawkes was caught in the basement tinkering with the barrels. Until 1959 is was illegal to not celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. The tradition on Guy Fawkes Night is to build a huge pile of pallets and wood with an imitation dummy of Guy Fawkes laid on top of the pile. It is believed that this is the way Guy Fawkes was punished but that is incorrect as his trial went on long after November the 5th. Regardless of the back story (which is actually quite traumatic) I have many fond memories of crowding round a large bonfire with a toffee apple watching the blaze with family and friends.


The firework was first created in China in the 10th century when a cook curiously mixed together potassium nitrate, sulphur and charcoal. He then placed the mixture within a bamboo shoot and a huge explosion emitted. The first recorded firework in Europe was in Florence and the second was at the wedding of King Henry VII in the 14th century. During a Bonfire there will often be fireworks that you can watch at the same time. These create beautiful, colourful, sparkly ripples in the sky when ignited, although cover your ears because they can be very loud! Fireworks are very, very dangerous so make sure you follow the correct guidelines when using them. Also keep pets indoors as fireworks can petrify them, give them a little reassurance and they should be ok.

I hope you guys can make it to bonfire night this year or if you are having your own celebration of November the 5th. Aberdeen will have a bonfire display at Aberdeen beach this year, make sure you get down there! Don’t forget to wrap up warm because it’s usually freezing out!

I’ll leave you guys with a little rhyme dedicated to Guy Fawkes Night:

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot

We see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot”

Katie x

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