The 5th November is not a holiday in the UK but it is the day of an important celebration known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night.
In 1605 a man called Guy Fawkes and other conspirators tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament by placing gunpowder in the cellars. The plot was discovered in time and Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators were tried and put to death.
On Bonfire Night we light bonfires and we have fireworks. We make an effigy of Guy Fawkes and put it on the top of our bonfire to be burned. In the past, in the days leading up to Bonfire Night, children used to display their guy [effigy] in the street and ask people for “a penny for the guy.” This tradition is not practised much now, as people think it is begging and they don’t want the children to try to buy fireworks with the money. [In the UK you are not allowed to buy fireworks if you are under 18.]
It is very cold in the UK in November so when we go outside to watch the fireworks and the bonfires we wrap up warmly and we eat hot food like jacket potatoes, sausages, pumpkin soup, toffee apples and a cake called ginger parkin.
To this day, the Yeomen of the Guard or Beefeaters [soldiers who form the Queen's bodyguard] search the cellars of the Houses of Parliament before the State Opening of Parliament every year in November.
All children learn this rhyme:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason
why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
blow up = destroy by explosion
gunpowder = powder which can cause an explosion
cellar = storage space under a building
plot = conspiracy
tried = to have your case heard in a court of law
put to death = executed
bonfire = a big, outdoor fire
days leading up to = the days before
beg = to ask for money in the street
wrap up warmly = to wear warm clothing
search = to try to find something
treason = a plot against the king or queen