City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bonfire Night


By edg - Posted on 30 September 2018

Fireworks scatter with blue and yellow tracers
Event details
Time: 
Monday, November 5, 2018 - 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.

With Meadowbank Stadium under redevelopment the large fireworks display at Meadowbank Stadium will be missed this year, 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.

The Hopetoun Fireworks and Bonfire Night, in the grounds of the stately home in South Queensferry, takes place on Saturday before Bonfire Night and the popular SLA Fireworks displays takes place on the Friday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Celtic Samhuinn Fire Festival bursts into life on Calton Hill on Halloween Night.

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

Some towns near Edinburgh have their own celebrations on or near the evening of the 5th, such as 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 on Saturday.