I came across some interesting stories about how Guy Fawkes Day (not night) used to be celebrated in Somerset. Apparently by 1607 – only two years after the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, by Guy Fawkes and his associates, the people of Bristol were celebrating his lack of success. This commemoration had been ordered by the King, James I, and not long after Bristol, in Bridgwater the ‘celebrations’ of the King’s deliverance continued.
The actual ‘guy’ the stuffed figure, an effigy of Fawkes, was more important than the bonfire, and every year on the nearest Thursday to November the 5th there still is the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival. Other towns including Weston-super-Mare where I live, also have autumn carnivals, and all the money collected from the spectators goes to local charity.
Gun powder had been in use for a long time, and before long squibs and fire-crackers were made and used with great glee which began the tradition of fireworks. Then, as now, special seasonal foods were eaten, including oat-cakes and frumenty (or furmenty in Somerset) Frumenty is a sort of enriched porridge made with wheat and with fruit, cream and saffron added.. Maybe I should make some for Guy Fawkes Night next year!