Remember, remember the 5th of November, the folk of Lewes in East Sussex do. The Lewes Bonfire Night is the largest 5th November celebration in the world. The festivities recall the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot and seventeen Protestant martyrs who were burnt at the stake during the reign of Mary I.
The Lewes Bonfire Night
The whole thing is organised by seven societies who arrange five separate parades and firework displays on the 5th. To mark the demise of the martyrs, seventeen burning crosses are carried through the town, and a wreath-laying ceremony occurs at the War Memorial. Ladies’ and men’s races take place in which brave (or foolhardy) souls pull flaming tar barrels. Lastly, a flaming tar barrel is thrown into the river Ouse - this is said to symbolise the throwing of magistrates into the river after they read the Riot Act to the bonfire boys in 1847. A number of effigies are pulled through the streets before being burned on the bonfires; these include Guy Fawkes, Pope Paul V and the ‘Enemies of Bonfire’, who range from unpopular national figures to local officials. Last year, David Cameron, Jeremy Clarkson and Sepp Blatter had the ‘honour’ of being chosen as ‘Enemies of the Bonfire’.