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About Lewes Bonfire Night

The Lewes Bonfire Night is one of the largest of the Guy Fawkes celebrations. It is always held on 5 November itself, or 4 November if the 5th is a Sunday. The town has 7 bonfire societies, of which 6 hold parades on the 5th through part of the town, followed by a bonfire and fireworks.

Celebrations in Lewes have always been rowdy and in the early 19th century they were banned from the town. By the 1850s they were allowed back, the first societies were formed and processions began as they are today. Lewes has always had specific features to its celebrations. Burning crosses represent the 17 Protestant martyrs of the town burned in the 16th century, and as well as effigies of Guy Fawkes and the Pope of the time, Paul V, effigies of current national or international figures are consigned to the bonfires. Barrel runs, with barrels of flaming tar, take place along the street, and society members are dressed in smugglers costumes, with different colours for each society.

The whole town is closed to traffic for the evening, and non-residents would be advised to stay in the town. It is also suggested that very young children may find the event a little frightening.


Lewes, Lewes, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (1273) 484004 | Official Homepage

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