Sussex Bonfire Night Celebrations

Seasonal Celebrations

What is Bonfire Night?

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, was originated in 1605 from the failed Gunpowder plot and has been marked in Great Britain for more than 400 years. Guy Fawkes was associated with the scheme and arrested for guarding explosives intended to assassinate the King. 
To celebrate the survival of King James I, bonfires were lit around in London. This event was as an annual thanksgiving. Therefore there are numerous events taking place in South East England. These Bonfire celebrations are popular events in Sussex.

Bonfire celebrations

Nowadays, tens of thousands of people come out to watch the bonfire procession in Sussex. Each bonfire society has a different costume. The costume varies from Saxon warriors to Confederate soldiers, pirates, jailbirds and smugglers. This spectacular atmosphere is something to behold, and the magnificent bonfires act as the focal point of the evening. Many celebrations raise thousands of pounds for good causes and charities.

When are Bonfire celebrations in Sussex?

The most famous event is always in Lewes on 5 November where the town marks Guy Fawkes Night and commemorates the 17 Protestant martyrs burned at stake for their faith.
Celebrations are also held in other Sussex towns & villages:
  • Uckfield – 7th September
  • Crowborough – 14th September
  • Mayfield – 21st September
  • Burgess Hill – 28th September
  • Eastbourne, Rotherfield, Northiam – 5th October
  • Ninfield – 12th October
  • Hastings, Hailsham, Seaford – 19th October
  • Ilsfield & Little Horsted – 25th October
  • Ewhurst & Staple Cross/Littlehampton, Firle, Heathfield – 26th October
  • Newick, Battle, Edenbridge – 2nd November
  • Robinhood (Icklesham) – 3rd November
  • Lewes, Lindfield – 5th November
  • East Hoathly & Halland/Chailey – 9th November
  • South Heighton/Rye – 9th November
  • Robertsbridge, Neville, Barcombe – 16th November
  • Hawkhurst – 23rd November

Burning effigies

Bonfire societies from Sussex put on different parades with intricate bonfire effigies and firework displays. They work for weeks to create satirical effigies whose identity are kept as secrets. Many political figures such as Donal Trump, Osama Bin Laden, Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson have been immortalised in model form and put to the flames.