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Happy Guy Fawkes Night! Don’t burn anybody I wouldn’t burn…


I mentioned a while back that Sussex makes a Very Big Deal out of Bonfire Night, holding parades and fireworks and bonfires in one village or another most weekends between late September and late November.

Well, tonight — November 5 — is the real Guy Fawkes Night. By Sussex tradition, Lewes holds this one, the biggest one. That’s because Mary Tudor burned 17 Protestants in Lewes High Street while she was on the throne, so they kind of earned the right to a party. Yeah. It’s a whole sectarian thing.

Lewes has been trying to put people off recently. It’s getting big and out of hand, with Londoners coming down and all. So instead we went to one in the ancient tiny village of Icklesham tonight.

And a damn fine firework display they put on, too. They charge £3 a head and put it all toward next year’s fireworks. And they roast a pig (a heartbroken Uncle B was put off by the queue) and serve booze and dance about in ancient costumes and bang drums and burn a honking great huge pile of wood pallets with a Guy on.

You know, the nannies have been trying to shut this thing down for years. The fires and the crowds are both very big and very dangerous. Some bonfire societies drag their explosives through town carrying torches(!). Some Guys are rigged with dynamite(!). Some of the fireworks are homemade(!).

There was a sign saying “no sparklers — they will be confiscated!” under which a group of drunk people were happily waving sparklers. There’s lots of booze involved. This afternoon, we bought a whole big box of fireworks (for our own personal bonfire night) in the grocery store.

I wouldn’t count these people out just yet.

November 5, 2009 — 7:32 pm
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