Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes Night

Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night) is a celebration or tradition in the UK where we remember the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament (government building) in London with bonfires and fireworks.

The History

In 1605, Guy Fawkes and his team of plotters attempted to destroy the Houses of Parliament in London, but were caught and executed for treason. They wanted to kill the king at the time for religious reasons.

We still remember this date today (5th November) by celebrating that the attempt failed.

Vocabulary

Plot – A plan to do something harmful or bad (Plotter – person who plots)

Cellar – The room under a house of building, often for wine or storage

Foiled – Something prevented from succeeding

Executed – Killed by the state

Commemorate – Celebrating or remembering something that happened before

Treason – The crime of betraying one’s country (king, queen, government…)

Bonfire – A large fire to burn rubbish or celebrate something

Sparkler – A small stick that creates sparks that you can play with for fun (like a big match)

Effigy (dummy) – A model or sculpture of a person

To fizzle out – to slowly and gradually become less common and popular until it eventually stops existing

Traditions

Every year on 5th November, we commemorate this event by gathering around bonfires and burning an effigy. We watch while playing with sparklers. At some point, there will also be fireworks too.

It’s a night of warm fires, drinks and food, and lots of fun!

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4 thoughts on “#81 Bonfire Night (British Tradition)”

  1. Hi, Michael! I am Jenny from Hong Kong. I love this kind of culture related episode . Could you also make an episode about Remembrance week, and Armistice day? I am very interested in that. Thank you so much and I am looking forward to your upcoming episodes.

    1. Hi Jenny, thanks so much! I’ll do my bet to make more in the future. I’m happy to have that feedback.
      Regarding Rememberance, I’m not sure I’d have much to say about it to be honest. For most people it’s just a normal day. We use poppies to remember the war and have a time of silence at 11:00, but that’s it for the regular person. I can’t imagine how I could make a whole episode about it but I’ll think about it 🙂 Thanks

  2. Ilyes Benoumhani

    Let me tell you that you are just great person !! Your voice your methods and your personality are really the ingredients that made me always attached to your unbelievable podcasts
    Ilyes from Algeria
    But I have a Question, I always hear you saying the sound of the sound (the) the like F like Fankyou instead of thank you
    Also the sound V and The there is big confusion for me because I wonder where do you put your tongue when you pronounce those words

    Thank you

    1. Hey Ilyes, thanks so much for the kind comment! It motivates me to keep going.
      Yes I’ve had problems with the TH sound since I was a child. I never really learnt how to do it so I just got in the habit of saying F. I never noticed until I started teaching, but I don’t have much reason to change it. I think it’s nice to point out that no one has “perfect” pronunciation and everyone struggles with some areas – even in our native languages.
      With V, allow some air to pass between your teeth and bottom lip, but don’t let your tongue touch. With “the”, your tongue should gently touch your top teeth and pull down. It’s hard to explain in writing but if you google “the pronunciation” there will be pictures that show you. Good luck!

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