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Guy Fawkes Day in United Kingdom

Guy Fawkes Night is annually held on November 5. It is sometimes known as Bonfire Night and marks the anniversary of the discovery of a plot organized by Catholic conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605. Many people light bonfires and set off fireworks.

A firework display to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night.
A firework display to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night.
©iStockphoto.com/Tim Starkey

What Do People Do?

Many people light bonfires and set off fireworks. As it is the end of autumn, it is the ideal opportunity to burn garden rubbish. Some light small bonfires in their own gardens, while other light larger ones in a communal space. In some towns and cities, the municipality organizes a bonfire and professional firework display in a park. These tend to be very popular. Due to its proximity to Halloween, many people organize a combined party for Guy Fawkes Night and Halloween. These parties often include elements from both festivals, such as a bonfire and dressing up in spooky outfits. Popular foods include toffee apples, bonfire toffee and potatoes baked in the ashes of the fire. Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, was arrested, tortured and executed for his part in the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Hence many Catholics are more restrained in their celebration of this day. In addition, many injuries and even deaths occur as a result of fireworks being used incorrectly. For this reason, many safety campaigners call for the sale of fireworks to the public to be restricted even more than at present and for more professional displays to be organized.

Public Life

Guy Fawkes' Day is not a public holiday. Businesses, organizations and schools are open as usual. Public transport services run to their normal timetables. Some organizations, communities and municipalities may organize public bonfires or displays of fireworks on or around November 5.

Background and symbols

Guy Fawkes Night celebrates the foiling of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London on November 5, 1605. The attack was planned by a group of Catholic conspirators, which included Guy Fawkes. The explosives would have been set off when King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) and many parliamentary members were in the building. The conspirators were later arrested, tortured and executed.

Guy Fawkes Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriNov 52010Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
SatNov 52011Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
MonNov 52012Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
TueNov 52013Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
WedNov 52014Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
ThuNov 52015Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
SatNov 52016Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
SunNov 52017Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
MonNov 52018Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
TueNov 52019Guy Fawkes DayObservance 
ThuNov 52020Guy Fawkes DayObservance 

Quick Facts

Guy Fawkes' Night, or Bonfire Night, commemorates the prevention of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.

Guy Fawkes Day 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Guy Fawkes Day 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Guy Fawkes DayEnglish
Guy Fawkes dagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in November 2016 in United Kingdom

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