Posted 1 November 2011 by Andrew Gardner
Celebrations of Guy Fawkes Night in Lewes East Sussex is always held on 5 November and this year it happens to be a Saturday night!
The Lewes Bonfire night is steeped in history dating back to 1853. Seven bonfire societies exist in Lewes and all of the processions are great to watch. The processions overlap in places throughout the evening and each will descend on the town before heading off to their respective bonfire sites.
Up to 150,000 people converge on Lewes on 5 November and considering the town has a population of just 15,000 then why does it attract so many? They say that if you haven't been to a bonfire night in Lewes then you haven't seen English rituals in all their pseudo pagan glory. Be warned it can get very intense during the processions and the firework displays are loud and serious with a deliberate intent to impress. Flame red torches illuminate the street, bangers will explode around your feet and strings of fire crackers will make your ears ring!
Hearing chants of 'Burn the Pope' is normal here and they will burn effigies of anything, and will carry burning upside down crosses. They like nothing better than to fly in the face of political correctness.
Can this really happen in a modern society, a town that is otherwise respected amongst business professionals and frequented and enjoyed by tourists throughout the year? Well it certainly does. The first procession starts in Lewes at 5.30pm and the last is around midnight.
For an experience you are not likely to forget then take the opportunity to be part of it. If you are on holiday in a cottage nearby in Eastbourne or Brighton then we do suggest you use the train. Lewes has its own mainline station in the heart of the town.
Maybe see you there!