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Bonfire Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Medieval streets? Check. Old English churches? Check. Tiny twittens (a Sussex word for alleyway)? Check. They’re all alluring features of the market town of Lewes in East Sussex, but this time of year it’s the embers that rule. This weekend marks the annual Lewes Bonfire Night, an event commemorating the failure of (fall) Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up Parliament in 1605. Dubbed by some as the Bonfire Capital of the World, it is generally recognized as the UK’s largest and most famous bonfire festival. Reminiscent of Mardi Gras, the event is dominated by bonfire societies, each of which sports a unique costume and parade route. Fireworks represent the explosives that were never used by the plotters. An honor—of sorts—is to be burned in effigy. Contemporary figures holding that ignominious distinction include Donald Trump, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and David Cameron.

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