Remember, Remember the 5th of November

Fireworks Night – or Bonfire Night, as it’s called by many – is a fun and often spectacular annual event celebrated mainly in the UK every 5th November. Like a lot of notable events, Fireworks Night has its origins in English history, with close links to religion.

Fireworks Night is a commercial opportunity for fireworks suppliers, as well as food and beverage manufacturers. However, this year, the restraints surrounding supply chains caused by Brexit are likely to see an expected 70% decrease in firework stocks – with an unwelcome hike in prices. This double whammy will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on retail outlets, but it shouldn’t discourage the general public from grabbing their ear muffs and heading out to the many bonfires and firework displays that’ll paint the night sky in glorious multicolour this autumn.  

Why do we celebrate Fireworks Night? Without getting too bogged down in the history, it is important to know the bare essentials of any annual celebratory event. Essentially, Brits celebrate the 5th November after a failed attempt by Roman Catholics to blow up King James I and the English Parliament in 1605. This act of conspiracy was known as the Gunpowder Plot, and came about because James I refused more religious tolerance to Catholics. The main conspirator was Robert Catesby, whilst the more famous Guy Fawkes was in charge of the explosives. After being rumbled, Fawkes was found guarding some 30-plus barrels of gunpowder and promptly arrested. He eventually died whilst jumping from the hanging gallows, breaking his neck. Ouch!

Fireworks Night is chiefly enjoyed by children because of the magnificent pyrotechnics, giving out a range of vibrant explosions. Handheld devices like sparklers are popular with the kids, too, although it’s sound advice to have a parent nearby (and to light the thing!). Autumnal goodies are also devoured on this most ear-splitting evening, with toffee, hot soups, mulled wine and parkin (that’s Northern gingerbread cake for all you Southerners!) enjoyed by many. Fireworks Night evokes the senses, with crisp night air mingling pleasantly with spices and traces of scented smoke. It can be a night to remember, and it’s perfect for families or groups of friends.

Why not dress up for the occasion? Sure, it’s likely to be a bit chilly, so many people plump for their favourite coat that’s been concealed in a stuffy cupboard for months. But you’re trendy fashionistas so you can afford to be a little more stylish. Try tasteful furry boots, or woolly hats with the largest bobble you can find! Bobbles are definitely in vogue this season, and can compliment a pair of colourful mittens.

Have fun playing around with the hat / mitten combo to come up with your ideal look. Don’t want to splash out for one specific night? Head to your local charity shops, where you’ll find an array of cool beanies, bobble hats, ear muffs, scarves, mittens and boots.

Once you have your Fireworks Night look nailed down, pause for a minute to think about your pets. Dogs, cats and other four-legged family friends usually recoil at the sound of fireworks, so please do your best to shield them from the pyrotechnical onslaught. We’re not suggesting you enclose them in bubble wrap, but spare a thought and see if there are rooms in the house that offer more protection from the sound of explosions.

On Fireworks Night, it’s always safety first. Only qualified or professional people should light large fireworks. Keep well clear of the safety barriers that should be installed around bonfires and where the fireworks are let off.  Keep your phones fully charged in case you need to make an emergency phone call. A lot of safety surrounding Fireworks Night is common sense, but you can never be too careful when you’re around live explosives.

Let’s hope the evening is not a damp squib, and that you all have fun on the 5th November – it should go off with a bang! And, just think, after that, it’ll soon be Christmas!