Modifications to the Festival Calendar in 1600 and 1605 during the Reign of James VI and I

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


James VI, one of the line of Stuart kings of Scotland, became king of England (as James I of that country) on the death of Queen Elizabeth of England in 1603. Two modifications to the festival calendar were introduced during his reign.

1 January became the beginning of the year in Scotland in 1600. Both Scotland and England before that time began the year at the Annunciation on 25 March. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1752 in the whole of Britain, England adopted the 1 January year-beginning, but no change was required in Scotland.

5 November is Guy Fawkes Day, the main festival for bonfires and fireworks throughout Britain. There were a number of points in the year traditionally celebrated with bonfires, but these have all died out as general celebrations leaving this historically founded festival as a focus for private parties and municipal festivities. The annual bonfires celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot which aimed to blow up King James and his parliament at Westminster in London on 5 November 1605. Guy Fawkes was arrested when about to set light to the gunpowder stored under the parliament building.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitics, Feasts, Festivals
Subtitle of host publicationYearbook of the SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year 9
Place of PublicationHungary
PublisherDepartment of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-963-306-254-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1419-1288
ISSN (Electronic)2064-4825


  • bonfires
  • catholics
  • commemoration
  • england
  • fireworks
  • gunpowder plot
  • guy fawkes day
  • james VI
  • New Year
  • Scotland


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