Traditions and food associated with the Bonfire Night

Generally, Bonfire Night is a time when people parade in costumes and they also utilize flaming torches, fireworks and sparklers.

This is obviously a clear nod to the failure of Guy Fawkes and his band as they tried to blow up the Parliament, a celebration of independence, but in a safe manner.

Most of the time, these Bonfire Night events are culminating with a firework display and a very large bonfire.

Here are some common traditions:

  • It’s very common for many people in the UK to burn an effigy, a homemade model of a man, very similar to a scarecrow. This effigy is meant to represent Guy Fawkes, and it’s usually made out of straw or paper, all of it stuffed within old clothes.
  • The bonfires are not meant just to be a symbol of the failed complot, but they are also used to cook all kinds of food. In fact, a lot of people heat up soup for the crowds coming by to see the fireworks. Some even cook potatoes wrapped in a foil, but also marshmallows or sausages as well. There’s also a traditional cake that people eat on the Bonfire Night, named the Parking Cake. This cake has syrup, ginger, oatmeal and treacle, and it’s very tasty.
  • There are firework displays all over the country, with the biggest cities getting some of the largest displays. But in general you are bound to find bonfires and incredible firework displays all over the country, even in rural areas.
  • Another interesting tradition comes in the form of “Penny for the Guy”. A few days before the Bonfire Night, kids used to take the homemade Guy effigies on the street, trying to ask for some money for the fireworks. In some regions you can even find kids that blackened their faces, a testament to what Guy Fawkes tried to do when he was preparing to blow up the parliament.
  • There’s also a tradition to carry flaming tar barrels on the shoulders during the Bonfire Night processions. Again, this is a nod to the plans that Guy Fawkes and his team had, in an effort to blow up the Parliament building.

Which foods are common during Bonfire Night celebrations?

As we mentioned earlier, the Bonfire Night events are not only a celebration with bonfires and fireworks.

There are plenty of foods associated with this event as well.

In fact, things like the jacket potato, parkin, black peas, treacle toffee or the toffee apples are widely associated with the Bonfire Night.

These are eaten throughout the country, and some regions even have their own special meals they prepare around the 5th of November as well.

It’s also important to note that some families eat soups too, and they share it with friends or other family members.

Bonfire Night attractions

Depending on where you live in the UK, you are bound to find some amazing attractions and events.

The most important spectacle is the fireworks display.

Smaller events also take place in countryside regions too, although here you mostly have large bonfires and local events, food and drinks being shared with the community.

Yes, for a lot of people Bonfire Night has become a community-focused event where everyone has a great time and they enjoy the presence of other, like-minded people.

However, you will also get to enjoy some great firework displays, with some regions going out of their way to use incredible pyrotechnics for a night to remember.

A great example of firework displays would be at the Lewes Bonfire Celebrations.

This event takes place in Lewes, Sussex and it has an electric atmosphere. It features many cultural and religious effigies.

Aside from other places, it actually featured things like Viking longboats, even Luftwaffe bombers.

It’s a great place to be during the Bonfire Night because it always features new, creative themes and it attracts lots of visitors.

If you are more into an eclectic, amazing fireworks display, then the Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular can be an option.

This event is interesting because it combines projected moving images with fireworks to deliver a very creative display.

You can also find events in Skinningrove, at the Segedunum Roman Fort in Newcastle, but also Kenilworth as well.

What should you wear for the Bonfire Night events?

The interesting thing to note about Bonfire Night is that people tend to dress up in various costumes, depending on where they live.

This is in preparation for the events, and it’s quite an interesting approach.

With that being said, the Bonfire Night is a great opportunity for most people to show off their winter wardrobe.

A winter knit with a classical touch is usually the right way to go here, and certainly something to keep in mind.

You don’t have to dress up in a costume, but a proper outfit that helps you protect yourself against the cold weather is more than welcome.