Porthminster Fireworks display on Porthminster Beach
Bonfire Night is an annual event dedicated to bonfires, fireworks and celebrations. Different traditions celebrate Bonfire Night on different days. Some of the most popular instances include Great Britain’s Guy Fawkes Night, which is also celebrated in some Commonwealth countries; Northern Ireland’s Eleventh Night, a precursor to The Twelfth; 23 June in the Republic of Ireland, sometimes known as St John’s Eve, a similar bonfire tradition survives in parts of Scandinavia and is known as Walpurgis Night; in Australia, the Queen’s Birthday. Several other cultures also include night-time celebrations involving bonfires and/or fireworks. In Great Britain, Bonfire Night is associated with the tradition of celebrating Guy Fawkes’ arrest on 5th November.The modern festival that is Porthminster Fireworks 2013, therefore, on 5th November, although some commercially-driven events are held at a weekend near to the correct date, to maximise attendance. Porthminster Fireworks 2013 bonfire night’s sectarian significance has generally been lost: it is now usually just a night of revelry with a bonfire and fireworks. Celebrations are held throughout Great Britain, in parts of Northern Ireland, and in some other parts of the Commonwealth. In Canada, 5 November is commemorated with bonfires and firework displays.
In Northern Ireland, the term “Bonfire Night” can refer to the Eleventh Night celebrations of 11 July. Like 5 November, this Bonfire Night also has its roots in the sectarian struggle between Protestants and Catholics. It celebrates the Battle of the Boyne of 1690, in which the Protestant William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II. The 23 June Bonfire Night in Ireland has its origins in a religious celebration and originally featured prayers for bountiful crops.