18 Views

Remember, remember: Bonfire night at Lewes

As we step outside we are greeted with the cold, crisp November air- an air tingling with anticipation. We make our way through campus to the station dressed in coats, hats, scarves, gloves and a million pairs of socks; our faces the only parts of our bodies not shielded from the frosty evening. As first years getting the train to Lewes on 5th November for the first time ever, we are buzzing with excitement at what we are about to witness.

The bonfire celebrations at Lewes are known for being the largest in the world as my flatmates and I found out for ourselves last year. If you’ve been to Lewes in the daytime you might think “That sleepy little village looks really boring- why is everyone raving about it?” Well it obviously sleeps all year round to have enough energy for the flame-filled festivities on 5th November.

It all starts with the processions as the different bonfire societies parade their effigies through the streets along with burning crosses and torches. While the sight of a burning cross did spark a little fear and created a horrendous image of the KKK in my mind, the red glow created a mesmerising atmosphere (and kept us warm while they walked past too!)

There are seven Lewes bonfire societies, the oldest ones are Cliffe and Lewes Borough which were both founded in 1853 and the newest is Southover which started in 2005. Each society has their own motto and their own colours to wear and there is a fair amount of competition between them to have the best effigies and display. As they march through the streets they collect donations from the onlookers to go towards funding their bonfire for the following year.

After the procession it’s time for the fireworks and bonfires which happen in different locations depending on what society you go and see. You do have to buy tickets for each bonfire but seeing a gigantic Vladimir Putin in a lime green Borat mankini being set alight is well worth it. Traditionally a Guy is burnt in order to remember how Guy Fawkes failed in his plot to blow up parliament in 1605 but in Lewes, as well a burning a Guy and the Pope, there are many different effigies which vary from year to year but always depict well-known people from politics or popular culture. Personally I feel like this year they should burn the entire Kardashian family (effigies only of course) but that’s just my opinion.

The fireworks are just as spectacular as the bonfires, bringing the black sky to life with explosions of bright, colourful sparkles and filling the night with the hisses, screeches and bangs of Catherine Wheels and rockets. Last year we went to Cliffe’s display where each burst of light eerily illuminated the chalk cliff behind them.

From my experience there are only two downsides to the Lewes fireworks. Firstly the cold- I get cold easily anyway but standing around outside for hours in the November night your feet do start to lose all sensation and your nose does turn very red. The other less appealing aspect is the crowds. According to the Lewes Bonfire website, up to 80,000 people line the streets so as you can imagine it gets rather cramped. Not to mention the trains are absolutely heaving and queueing for the train home at the end was not a fun experience.

Despite the crowds and the cold I am definitely going back to Lewes for bonfire night this year and would highly recommend that you do too. Take a flask of your favourite hot drink and bring some snacks as there are only a few places open to sell refreshments. Make sure you’ve got a good camera because you will want to capture every moment of this fiery night of spectacular colour. While there is undoubtedly an indescribable childlike excitement in writing your name in the air with a sparkler (aka magic wand) I would say that the Lewes celebrations are definitely filled with enough enchantment to at least save the sparkler until you get back from this unique extravaganza.

For more information about Lewes bonfire night, including the full history of the celebrations there, visit their website: http://www.lewesbonfirecelebrations.com/

Rosie Flynn

Image by Dominic Alves

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review
Arts, Film & Theatre
16 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
16 views

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review

Georgia Grace - February 23, 2018

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia came to the Theatre Royal Brighton this week with a trio of classic ballet performances to impress a range of audiences.…

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock
Science, Science & Technology
30 views
Science, Science & Technology
30 views

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has gone ahead with a plan to build a giant clock to promote long term thinking. The clock's design should allow it to…

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain
Science, Science & Technology
79 views
Science, Science & Technology
79 views

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

If you're madly in love, I'd like to ask you to take a moment to consider what exactly is happening inside your brain. Love is a many-chemical…

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy
Science, Science & Technology
48 views
Science, Science & Technology
48 views

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could become a defining feature in humanity's exploration of space, but this impressive technical feat opens up a new frontier of…

Should the monarchy be abolished?
News
23 views
News
23 views

Should the monarchy be abolished?

Will Cronk - February 23, 2018

YES William Cronk Since the time of Alfred the Great, this country has had a monarch of some form or another. The monarchy has provided stability and…

News, Podcast
28 views

News Round Up: UCU strike updates, tuition fees and more

William Singh - February 23, 2018

In this news round up of the week, Will and Deniz catch you up on everything going on around campus. Thanks for listening and tune in next…

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr
Features, Top Stories
23 views
Features, Top Stories
23 views

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr

Devin Thomas - February 23, 2018

The Badger Features Team interviewed Sussex’s Yasin Koc about his work on the psychological factors behind Grindr. He posits that use of the app is associated with…

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls
Arts, Film & Theatre
26 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
26 views

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls

Sophie Coppenhall - February 22, 2018

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MwnpSEzprQ[/embedyt] This week, Sophie our film editor, reviews season one of Derry Girls. Have you seen it? What did you think? Leave us a comment on…

Arts, Film & Theatre
40 views

Krater’s Valentine’s Day Special review

Daniel Green - February 21, 2018

Love was in the air at a Valentine’s special of Krater Comedy Club last Wednesday and, despite the pouring rain outside, Komedia was packed full of people…

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule
Campus News, News
42 views
Campus News, News
42 views

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule

William Singh - February 21, 2018

University of Sussex staff are hosting a full slate of events on strike days, including talks, teach-ins, and even a day to bring along your puppers. Members…

Exploring Mumbai Street Food
Lifestyle
41 views
Lifestyle
41 views

Exploring Mumbai Street Food

Louisa Streeting - February 21, 2018

Mumbai is a place that assaults the senses; an array of smells you’ve never smelt before, vibrant colours, and constant noises from the surge of tourists and…

Comment, Opinion
44 views

Comment Cast: Misogyny In Hollywood

Will Cronk - February 21, 2018

In the is episode, Will and Sophie discuss misogyny in film and tv. For more, pick up a badger around campus or read it online. Tune in…

Students need to support the UCU strike
Comment, Opinion
52 views
Comment, Opinion
52 views

Students need to support the UCU strike

Johnbosco Nwogbo - February 20, 2018

The question of whether or not the current UCU strike is justified is an easily settled one, if one took a broad view. According to the Joseph…

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?
Features, Top Stories
50 views
Features, Top Stories
50 views

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?

Roisin McCormack - February 20, 2018

As it reaches a century since the defining moments of women’s suffrage, Roisin McCormack looks into how much things have really changed. Is a celebration of the…

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)
Arts, Film & Theatre
31 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
31 views

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)

Gabriel Ross - February 20, 2018

During a 2002 interview with Charlie Rose, when asked whether he is going to take some time off, Adam Sandler promptly replies, “I don’t really wanna have…

News
53 views

Live: Students’ Union decides on UCU strike backing

William Singh - February 19, 2018

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000
Campus News, News
69 views
Campus News, News
69 views

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000

Jordan Wright - February 19, 2018

On Monday 19th February, the Students’ Union Council will vote on whether or not to support the national Univerity  and College Union (UCU) strike action that is…

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review
Arts, Music
38 views
Arts, Music
38 views

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review

Matthew Nicholls - February 19, 2018

Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since 'Glitterbug' reached number 5…

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse
Artist Focus, Arts
51 views
Artist Focus, Arts
51 views

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse

Louisa Hunt - February 19, 2018

Ella Barkhouse is a second-year Brighton student, studying Fine Art: Critical Practice course. Her work ranges across all sorts of media, from some more traditional writing, drawing…

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February
Books
77 views
Books
77 views

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February

Shiri Reuben - February 19, 2018

  Throughout the month of February, LGBT History Month aims to promote tolerance and spread awareness of the historical and present-day prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual…