In over 400 years of celebrations in Lewes there has never been a central body organising this mega event. The Lewes Bonfire Council acts as a forum for the societies to co-ordinate their plans but the six that hold their celebrations on The Fifth very much do their own thing based on traditions.
Timing is everything in this amazing night of the year but if the timings don’t go quite to plan and it creates a ‘butterfly effect’ making everything a little later!
Six processions holding torches and dressed up in fabulous costumes, sometimes holding huge effigies, walk different routes through the town ending up at their own bonfire, to give an amazing firework display. The atmosphere is electric!
Underlying the tradition of bonfire night in Lewes is the fact that the Bonfire Societies remember the 17 Protestant Martyrs who met horrific, fiery deaths outside The Star Inn in Lewes in the 16th Century. The evening also remembers the ‘Bonfire Boys’ who fought in the two World Wars. Each Society will lay a wreath at the town’s War Memorial not far from The Star Inn.
Here are a few tips for The Fifth…
Travel – don’t travel into Lewes by car on The Fifth. Road closures are in force from early afternoon and parking is extremely limited. Public transport will run in accordance with the Bonfire Night, for further information go to www.lewes.gov.uk .
Children – you are strongly advised not to bring young children, particularly those needing pushchairs as the routes to the firesites may be unsuitable. Also loud bangs and fireworks could frighten them.
Animals – no animals allowed, with the noise and the huge crowds on the streets, the evening is completely unsuitable for them.
Money – bring some with you as you may wish to buy food and drinks from local vendors. Don’t expect all the pubs to be open, some close entirely, others only admit regulars or have bouncers on the door. Lewes Street Drinking Prohibition will be enforced to keep everyone safe.
Safety – There will be a huge amount of Marshals to keep the roads free of crowds so that the processions, tableaux and effigies can pass by, please follow the Marshals instructions.
Torches – Don’t pick these up, they may still be hot, there’s a specialist team who will collect them along the way.
The processions start about 5pm and should end about midnight, the bonfires and fireworks will be around 8 or 9pm.
There’s still time to make plans to come and visit Sussex and absorb the amazing atmosphere at the Bonfire Capital of the World! You can make a long weekend of it and come and stay in one of our self catering cottages in Sussex, it will be a great start to a fabulous weekend in Sussex.
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If you’re keen to visit another area of the UK for Bonfire Night, just click here for a great selection of Fireworks Night fun!
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