Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
1:17 PM 5th November 2021

Four In Ten Modern Brits Have No Idea What The Origins Of Bonfire Night Are

photo by Nigel Renny
photo by Nigel Renny
Researchers surveyed 1,500 young Brits, aged 16-29 and discovered as many as 40 percent were unaware that bonfire night commemorated Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

In fact, according to the data, almost a quarter (23 percent) thought bonfire night was a “pagan festival”, while a further 17 percent thought it was a “traditional celebration to ward off evil spirits”.

Guy Fawkes mask - photo by Ben Schumin
Guy Fawkes mask - photo by Ben Schumin
Yet the survey, commissioned by insights agency Perspectus Global, found as many as 92 percent of youngsters say they celebrate bonfire night with family and friends every year.

When it comes to the man himself, 74 percent said they had heard of Guy Fawkes, however one in ten (10 percent) thought he was a fictional character, while seven percent thought he was famous for being the inventor of fireworks.

Almost one in ten (7 percent) thought he had designed the fork, while 6 percent insisted, he was an MP.

The study also revealed 30 percent of youngsters think the gunpowder plot was an attempt to kill Henry VIII, while 9 percent thought it was an attempt on the life of Queen Elizabeth 1st.

photo by Son of Groucho
photo by Son of Groucho
Guy (Guido) Fawkes planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th of November in 1605 at the state opening, in a bid to kill King James I and members of the commons and the Lords.

Their plot was discovered the night before the grand opening when yeoman guards searched the cellars and Fawkes was discovered with a fuse, lamp, box of matches and thirty-six poorly hidden barrels of gunpowder.

Fawkes and his co-conspirators Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter, Thomas Percy, and John Wright were arrested and taken to the Tower of London where they were tortured before being hung drawn and quartered on the 30th and 31st of January 1606.

Ellie Glason, from Perspectus Global said,
“It’s great to see how many Brits hold on to and celebrate time-old traditions such as bonfire night, even if some aren’t entirely sure of the exact meaning.”

According to the survey, the majority of those quizzed (52 percent) had never heard of the tradition of Penny for the Guy, where children would build their own “Guy” out of rags and old clothes.

Survey conducted by