Lewes (East Sussex) Bonfire Night


Lewes (East Sussex) Bonfire Night
   Lewes is the last place in England to celebrate 'November the Fifth (Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night) in the old spectacular mass public way, and although surrounding towns and villages hold smaller events, Lewes's Fifth is acknowledged as the climax of the season. There are five separate bonfire societies in the town, and each holds its own procession, bonfire, and firework displays, but they come together for a Grand United Procession, over a mile long, through Lewes High Street with bands, banners, effigies, tableaux, flaming torches, and over 2000 participants in fancy dress. There are also huge effigies of unpopular national figures which are filled with fireworks and exploded to much cheering and jubilation. Each of the societies also throws a blazing tar barrel into the river Ouse, and visits the town's war memorial. It remains a mystery why Lewes has retained so many of the features of past celebrations. Admittedly, seventeen Protestant martyrs died in Lewes in the reign of Queen Mary (1553-8), but other places could say the same. Although the 'no popery' theme, so strong in the past, is nowadays played down, some costumes still ridicule popes and priests.
   ■ Jim Etherington, Lewes Bonfire Night (1993); Jim Ethering-ton, Bonfire: The Lewes Bonfire Societies in Photographs (1997); Shuel, 1985: 186-7.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sussex Bonfire Societies — The Sussex Bonfire Societies are responsible for the series of bonfire festivals around Central/Eastern Sussex along with bits of Surrey and Kent from September November.The focal point of the bonfire tradition is Lewes which has seven separate… …   Wikipedia

  • Lewes — Infobox UK place official name=Lewes country=England region=South East England static static image caption=Harveys Brewery area footnotes=cite web |url=http://www.eastsussexinfigures.org.uk/webview/ |title=East Sussex in Figures |accessdate=2008… …   Wikipedia

  • Newick — For other uses, see Newick format. Coordinates: 50°59′N 0°01′E / 50.98°N 0.02°E / 50.98; 0.02 …   Wikipedia

  • Firle — Infobox UK place official name=Firle country=England region=South East England static static image caption=The Street, Firle area footnotes=cite web |url=http://www.eastsussexinfigures.org.uk/webview/ |title=East Sussex in Figures… …   Wikipedia

  • Cuckfield — Coordinates: 51°00′20″N 0°08′26″W / 51.0055°N 0.1406°W / 51.0055; 0.1406 …   Wikipedia