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Remember, remember

England isn’t lost yet; these people love them some fire and explosions.

Happy Bonfire Night! Remember, remember the fifth of November — 1605, when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the houses of Parliament. Parliament, king and all. He and his buds hoped to make England a Catholic nation again.

Problem is, the last time England was a Catholic nation — 40-some years earlier, when Bloody Mary was on the throne — a good 300 Brits were burned alive for the heresy of Protestantism.

They’re still grouchy about it.

Still, any excuse to dress up, parade around with torches, drink beer, set off fireworks and have a hellaciously huge bonfire with an effigy on top. I think only Lewes still burns an effigy of the Pope every year — 17 Lewesians were burned at the stake during the Marian persecutions — but everybody burns somebody.

In Sussex, they don’t have Bonfire Night, they have Bonfire season. From September almost through to Christmas, local village bonfire societies take turns having bonfire celebrations, so we can all turn up to all of them. Or lots of us turn up to lots of them, anyway.

On the fifth itself is our favorite: Icklesham. It’s a tiny town near Hastings, but they have a robust bonfire society, the Robin Hood Bonfire Society (out of the Robin Hood pub). And they charge £3 admission, which goes towards next year’s festivities. They always put on an excellent show.

They did it again tonight — though it was a bit a mizzly out and attendance was down, which may affect next year’s celebration. Still, the beer was my favorite!

Pull up a toasted Catholic and join us!

November 5, 2010 — 11:25 pm
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