Finding Your Cottages

Light My Fire

Posted 2 November 2017 by Andrew Gardner

In the UK every November 5th there's an event called Bonfire Night. You might also hear it called Guy Fawkes Night, and in reality it now takes place any time in the autumn as organisers try to avoid clashing with each other. From a visitor's point of view you'll find official bonfires and spectacular fireworks displays in many towns and villages. Most are family-friendly events that you can watch safely, perhaps round a pretty village green, a town square, the grounds of a historic monument or even the sea-front - especially here in Sussex. If you or your pet don't like fireworks, don't worry: official displays tend to be fairly short and they'll be well-publicised, so you can avoid them.
Fireworks in Sussex
Some Bonfire Night events are larger, though. One of these is in the historic Sussex town of Lewes, which has stuck to its historic roots and while it's an amazing spectacle it's a far cry from the family-friendly, village-green image. At Lewes people come from far and wide to see torchlit processions and effigies not just of Guy Fawkes but of current public figures carried through packed streets to the bonfire. It's not for the faint-hearted. This year it's on Saturday 4th, and if you're planning a day out note that trains in the area can be very busy that day.
Procession - Lewes Bonfire
The origin of Bonfire Night is the plot by Guy (or Guido) Fawkes and his associates to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, though whether Fawkes was the mastermind or the scapegoat is still debated. It became traditional to burn a straw-filled, masked Guy Fawkes - usually made by children - though now some organisers don't burn an effigy.
Wherever you're staying in Sussex you're sure to find a nearby bonfire - Nov 4th also sees Battle and Lindfield hold theirs, along with a big, family extravaganza at Brighton Racecourse; watch out for a huge fireworks display at Worthing Pier on 5th; while on Saturday 11th there's East Hoathly and Rye, Robertsbridge on 18th and Hawkhurst on 25th. Wherever you're based for your holiday in Sussex, check local info for your nearest bonfire.
Procession by Dave Pullig is licenced under CC BY 2.0

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