Festivities in Windsor Castle by Paul Sandby, c. 1776
Guy Fawkes Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Don't you Remember,
The Fifth of November,
'Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
I let off my gun,
And made'em all run.
And Stole all their Bonfire away. "
~ Traditional, 1742
It's Bonfire Night! Get out the fireworks and make some claggum (sweet) or clack (not so sweet), the black treacle (molasses) treat also known as bonfire toffee, treacle toffee , plot toffee, and Tom Trot! Despite its sinister origins, Bonfire Night is now a community celebration of fireworks and bonfires often with burning effigies of a "Guy" - traditionally made with a jacket and trousers stuffed with straw. The Guy was traditionally wheeled around towns while the owners shouted “penny for the Guy” with the money raised going towards buying fireworks. The Guy would then be placed on top of a roaring bonfire. Bonfire Night's origins stem from the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (part of a plan conceived by Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and others to blow up a cache of gunpowder under the House of Lords during a ceremony in which King James I’s nine year old daughter was to be installed as the Catholic head of state). 🔥🎆
Bonfire at Parliament
Also known as Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes Night's history begins with the events of the 5th of November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding the explosives that the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.
Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London.
The Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.
Within a few decades, Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was then known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment. Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while common folk burnt effigies of popular hate-figures during raucous celebrations.
The practice of lighting bonfires or fireworks on this night continues today in many regions, boosted by nearness to Hallowe'en traditions.
Bonfire toffee (also known as treacle toffee, Plot toffee, or Tom Trot) is a hard, brittle toffee associated with both Hallowe'en and Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom. The toffee tastes very strongly of molasses (black treacle).
In Scotland, the treat is known as claggum, with less sweet versions known as clack.
In Wales, it is known as loshin du or taffi triog, with a flavour similar to butterscotch.
For a classic black treacle toffee recipe, click below.