Bonfire Night and Guy Fawkes
The Bonfire: It is believed that the very night the Gunpower Plot was thwarted in 1605, bonfires were lit in London to celebrate its defeat. As early as 1607, there is a record of bonfire celebrations taking place in Bristol on November 5th and it was traditional for children to black their faces with the ashes in imitation of Guy Fawkes who, it was believed, performed a similar function in order to try and camouflage himself. Bonfires were often used to cook potatoes known as "roasters" on this special night. Bonfires themselves, however, did not begin with Guy Fawkes. They are ancient rituals of celebration which have been present from the earliest times in the British Isles and throughout Europe.
The Fireworks: Fireworks have been a traditional part of the celebrations since 1677. Fireworks (known in modern times as pyrotechnics) probably originated in medieval China when Chinese alchemists, who knew that saltpeter endowed fire with energy, were experimenting with chemicals in a search for the elxir of life. In approximately 850 A.D., saltpeter was combined with charcoal and sulfur.…
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