City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bonfire Night


By edg - Posted on 31 October 2017

Fireworks scatter with blue and yellow tracers
Event details
Time: 
Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 5:00pm - 11:59pm

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.

Bonfire Night events in Edinburgh vary in size from the major Meadowbanks fireworks display (Edinburgh's main firework display, some of which can be seen from around the city) to small community bonfires.

Some towns near Edinburgh have their own celebrations on or near the evening of the 5th, such as the Haddington parade and fireworks on Saturday, Musselburgh's free Fireworks at Fisherrow Links, or East Lothian Yacht Club's Firework Display at the harbour in North Berwick.

Some events also take place closer to Halloween rather than on Guy Fawkes Night or the weekend of Bonfire Night.

The Hopetoun Fireworks and Bonfire Night, in the grounds of the stately home in South Queensferry, on Saturday and the Celtic Samhuinn Fire Festival, which takes place on the Royal Mile, falls on Halloween Night.

The popular SLA Fireworks displays are on Sunday 5th and this year includes a third Fireworks Show on the evening of Friday 3rd November.