The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK and is celebrated across the country with fireworks and bonfires. It’s meant to commemorate the failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
These days it’s just an excuse to light fires and make things go bang, much to the dismay of skittish dogs across the country.
The biggest and most authentic celebration is the Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations, held in the small Sussex town of the same name, just along the coast from Brighton.
Here six different bonfire societies strive to outdo each other with the most noisy, the most dangerous and most flammable parades.
They’ll tell you that it’s the only proper bonfire night celebration left in the world.
It’s certainly full on. The year I went I was treated to burning crosses, barrels of fire rolled down the streets and more flaming torches than you could poke a flaming stick at.
Any notions of health and safety were abandoned for the night. There were no barriers and the flaming barrels and carts whizzed by barely millimetres from those in the front row.
It was kind of intoxicating.
There were police there. They occasionally made a show of asking people step back from the road. But the only time they really sprung into action was when they spotted a young guy smoking a spliff as he watched the parade go by from the window of his apartment above a real estate agent.
It seems that’s what passes for treason these days.
Main image: One of the Lewes bonfire societies parading through the streets (Peter Moore)