Bonfire Night

Submitted by edg on Wed, 27 Oct '21 9.25am
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Fireworks - 2 blue yellows bursts against dying big blue burst
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Other countries go crazy at Halloween. In Britain, not just Edinburgh, Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is marked with fiery celebrations across the land.

The celebration may share roots with Halloween, and the pagan Samhuinn and Hogmanay celebrations, marking the start of the "dark days"; but Bonfire Night's date originates from the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 by a group of English Catholics to blow up the House of Lords. The goal of the Gunpowder Plot was to kill the protestant James VI of Scotland and I of England.

However, Guy Fawkes was discovered skulking in the cellars of parliament on 5th November with a pile of gunpowder, arrested, and executed shortly thereafter. Hence Bonfire Night is always on 5th November ("remember, remember").

Public celebrations involve the burning of effigies ("the Guy") on a bonfire, fireworks, dancing, dunking for apples, roasting potatoes, and such like.

With Meadowbank Stadium still under redevelopment the large fireworks display at Meadowbank Stadium will again be missed this year (Meadowbank was due to open in 2020 but has been delayed by the pandemic), but there are many smaller community Bonfire Night events in Edinburgh.

Some events also take place closer to Halloween rather than on Guy Fawkes Night or on the nearest weekend to Bonfire Night. However, these have been impacted by the pandemic: the Hopetoun Fireworks and Bonfire Night, in the grounds of the stately home in South Queensferry, usually takes place on Saturday before Bonfire Night and the popular SLA Fireworks displays are held on the Friday and Sunday. But with Covid uncertainty lingering you will have to wait til 2022 to enjoy these.

However, the Celtic Samhuinn Fire Festival bursts into life on Halloween Night - albeit in a location that will only be revealed once you register.

Edinburgh's fireworks and winter fire festivals are popular and you should note that these events often sell out in advance.

Guy Fawkes celebrations near Edinburgh

Some towns near Edinburgh may have their own celebrations on or near the evening of the 5th. These include Musselburgh's Guy Fawkes Fireworks display, the Haddington torchlight procession and fireworks on Saturday, Cockenzie and Port Seton's Fireworks in East Lothian, or East Lothian Yacht Club's Firework Display at the harbour in North Berwick. Community events are often free or by donation.

Edinburgh's Diwali Parade, Celebrations and Fireworks also take place around this time.