Bonfire Night is a quintessentially British affair in which we remember the foiled Gunpowder Plot against Parliament and the King in the 17th century. The history of the incident often fades into the background against the wonder of watching fireworks, building bonfires and savouring some sausages and mulled wine. Read on to find out some fun facts about the event and how you can ensure the safe celebrations go off with a bang!
Did you know?
Fireworks originate from China, where they have been used for over 2000 years to scare away evil spirits during births, weddings and religious festivals.
Fireworks have also been used at ceremonies in India and Thailand for centuries, where the largest rockets could be up to 10 feet long and attached to 40 foot bamboo poles.
The largest ever recorded firework was set off in China in 1988 - it weighed more than half a tonne and the light burst spread over a whole kilometre!
After fireworks became popular in the 17th century, there was an official post in the royal staff for a Fireworks Master. King James II even knighted his Fireworks Master after a particularly great display.
Fun-filled activities for the whole family
One of the oldest traditions for Bonfire Night is building a life-sized effigy of Guy Fawkes, the most widely remembered perpetrator of the Gunpowder Plot. If you have a suitable outside space, supervise the kids in building a bonfire and making a 'Guy' out of old clothes and newspaper. You can then put on your own mini garden fireworks display for them. The little ones will also love helping you make toffee apples - you can find a good recipe here.
Every year people get hurt on Bonfire night. Make sure you and your family are not included in the statistics by setting down some firm ground rules. These should include:
Never playing with fireworks - only adults should light them.
Stand well back when fireworks are being lit or going off.
Never go near a firework after it has been lit, even if it doesn't go off.
Always wear gloves if using a sparkler - keep it at arm's length and put it out in bucket of water when it goes out - it could still burn you.
Make sure pets stay inside
With all the attention focused on the fire and the skies, it's very easy for clothes to get stained with dirt and soot or grease from the food. If the kids get ketchup on their top or you get red wine stains on your favourite blouse, just add a scoop of Vanish Oxi Action Powder to your wash and they will come out looking as good as new.