Edinburgh fireworks displays 2021: best Bonfire Night events this year - and things to do to celebrate

Start planning your 2021 Bonfire Night festivities now.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 9:09 am

A four-century old tradition is soon to be celebrated once more in cities, towns, and villages across the UK.

Any excuse for tasty food and late-night fireworks is a great reason to meet up with friends and family.

Bonfire Night is just such an example. Here’s all you need to know about the festivities and how you can celebrate in Edinburgh this year.

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Sparklers, bonfires, and fireworks are some of the traditional ways to celebrate Bonfire Night. Photo: 6014458 / Pixabay / Canva Pro. ShootOutLoud / Getty Images / Canva Pro. jmimages / Getty Images / Canva Pro.

What is Bonfire Night?

Also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night, Bonfire Night is usually held on the closest Saturday to November 5th.

The celebration commemorates the events of November 5th 1605, when a group of bombers planned to attack the Houses of Parliament in London.

The goal was to kill King James I with an explosion.

Guy Fawkes was one of the members of the Gunpowder Plot, as it became known, and the first one to be caught.

He was arrested while guarding the explosives, so the attack never actually went through.

To celebrate that the attempt on the king’s life was unsuccessful, people around the UK were encouraged to light bonfires to mark the day.

That’s why we continue the tradition today. It’s also morphed to include burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes, stuffed figures known as Guys.

Traditionally, children will carry their Guy around their local area and collect money for their creation, although this is less common nowadays.

Still, most villages and cities alike will organise some form of bonfire or firework display to celebrate the day, even 400 years later.

What Bonfire Night activities do we celebrate with?

Some common Bonfire Night activities are, of course, the bonfire itself, often accompanied by a dazzling firework display.

It’s often thought that we build bonfires because that’s how Guy Fawkes himself was killed. However, he was actually hung, drawn, and quartered, not burned.

If a bonfire is too huge a fire for you to try out, you can also buy sparklers for a more kid-friendly way to celebrate.

As with any good British holiday, there are plenty of seasonal treats to eat while you enjoy the show.

Toffee apples, baked potatoes, and hot chocolate are the perfect snacks to keep you warm and full on a chilly November night.

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Where can I see firework displays in Edinburgh on Bonfire Night 2021?

This year, many of the regular firework displays in Edinburgh are not going ahead due to ongoing precautions surrounding the pandemic.

But there are still some displays for you to head along to.

Although a little way out of the city, Musselburgh is hosting their annual event on November 5th at Musselburgh Racecourse, with 5,000 places available to anyone with an EH12 postcode.

Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife will also be hosting an event, this one on November 6th and starting from 2pm.

While there don’t seem to be any other official firework displays in or around Edinburgh, you can likely expect that residents will be putting on their own shows in their gardens.

Head to Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill, or climb up to Edinburgh Castle for 360-degree views of the city, so you can see the dozens of mini-displays that are sure to be popping up all over the capital.

Can I buy my own fireworks in Scotland?

You can buy up to 5kg of fireworks for personal use in Scotland from licensed suppliers.

Fireworks are only available to buy legally during the daytime hours of 7am and 6pm.

Ordinarily, fireworks can only be set off by the general public between 6pm and 11pm, but this extends until midnight on Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.