Remembrance Day/Bonfire Night/Halloween

  1. write the 3 special occasions on the board and tell students you’re gonna show 3 videos that they should match with the days. Watch the videos for lead-in.

2. Put students into 3 groups and a text about one of the occasions. Ask them to guess which celebration it is about.


The year was 1605 and some English Catholics were angry because the King of England, James the first, was treating them badly. In November 1605 a group of men made a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament (the government buildings) in London. An enormous explosion was planned for November 5th. This was the day that the King was due to open parliament. The plan is known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ and the leader of the group was called Guy Fawkes. The men put 36 barrels of gunpowder (a type of explosive) in the Houses of Parliament and they waited for the King to arrive. The group decided that Guy Fawkes should light the gunpowder and cause the explosion. Did they succeed? No, they didn’t. The police found the gunpowder before it exploded and they caught all the men involved in the plot. The men were tortured and killed.

To celebrate his survival, all over Britain there are firework displays with models of Guy Fawkes, which are burned on the fire. The Guy is made of old clothes and the clothes are filled with newspaper. The Guy is a reminder of Guy Fawkes. The fireworks are a reminder of the gunpowder that Guy Fawkes hid in the cellar of Parliament. Some people have a small fire in their garden on November 5th. The biggest fireworks display is the Edenbridge Display in Kent. Edenbridge also has the biggest Guy. A 9-metre ‘celebrity’ model is burned there every year. Last year the celebrity Guy was Wayne Rooney wearing Shrek–style ears and a Manchester United football shirt.


The holiday originally comes from a people called the Celts.The Celts lived in Europe more than 2000 years ago. On November 1st they celebrated the end
of summer. They thought ghosts visited the living on October 31st. They dressed up like ghosts so the spirits would not harm them. Today, many countries still remember the dead on November 1st . It is called All Saints Day. Another name for it is All Hallow’s Day. The day before, October 31st is called All Hallow’sEve, or Halloween for short. Halloween is an old tradition in Ireland and Scotland. In those countries, people dressed up and carried lanterns made of turnips. When people moved from Ireland and Scotland to the United States, they started using pumpkins. This is where the jack-o’-lantern comes from.
They also had a tradition of giving food to the spirits. Later, they gave the food to poor people. This is where trick-or-treating comes from. Halloween has changed a lot since its origins. New people have brought new traditions, and changed the old ones.

The United States has been in many major world conflicts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In 1914 the United States joined Britain, France, and Russia in World War I against the triple alliance of Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. Just over 116,000 casualties were seen by the U.S. Since the Civil War, this was the United States highest number of war-borne casualties.

In 1918, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, fighting ceased in World War I. Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day (November 11) is a day to honor veterans living and dead who have given so much to protect our country. With our armed forces fighting enemies overseas and at home, Veterans Day is even more significant.


3. After reading make Ss collect at least 3 things they’ve learnt. When done, make them think about further questions about the text. Also, ask them to summarize what they’ve read and retell it to the other groups.

4. For homework they can look for a further November celebration is any part of the world.