The Lewes Bonfire night celebrations are the biggest in the UK. It comprises of a parade through the streets of Lewes by many different bonfire societies from across Sussex. Culminating in the the parade splitting off to about 6 different bonfire sites hosted by the 6 societies of Lewes, where the various effigies that have been dragged through the streets are burnt, huge bonfire are lit by the parade members from their torches of fire and fireworks are set.
This tradition dates back to about 1795, being the earliest recorded report in a local paper. There were however rituals of sorts before this date, many turning into riots leading to such events being banned.
The Lewes bonfire night as we now know it celebrates Guy Fawkes, the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, remembering the Seventeen Martyrs that were burnt near the Lewes War Memorial, remembering the Fallen and more.
Its a pretty amazing spectacle once you get past the public transport queues and the crowds. And slightly hair raising at times too! You really do have to look out for yourself, you need to duck out the way of the flames, because the people carrying them won’t mind you! And shield your eyes when the fire crackers go off and from the intense smoke at times! I did actually get hit in the leg by something hard and it was blooming painful, leaving a nasty bruise, not quite breaking the skin, and being slightly scared for the rest of the night every time there were loud bangs and cracks. Slightly more protective clothing required next time!
These celebrations aren’t put on for the public and as the writer of this blog so brilliantly puts it “This Lewes Bonfire Night Festival/Carnival in Sussex is not suitable for Yummy Mummy’s or very young children especially those in pushchairs, the frail or if you have breathing problems. Some pubs in the town will be ticket only and all of them will be heaving and there will be limited toilet facilities and food vendors. So come along if you wish, but you do not have an invite and therefore you will be gatecrashing our Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations, and please remember “When In Rome . . .” and “Volenti Non Fit Injuria” Also remember not to go home crying to the web or media if you did not like what you have just seen or felt after spending the whole night in Lewes!”
Having never been before or even having visited Lewes these are as good as my shots get! You really need to know the best vantage points so that you don’t need to step out into flames and firecrackers! A little recce needed next time I think!
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