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The flame procession

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November 6, 2012 in Outdoors

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Lewes in East Sussex is aflame with its  annual Bonfire Night celebrations.

Tens of thousands lined the streets in the  small market town to watch the fiery procession, which traces its roots to the  16th century reign of Mary I and the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot of  1605.

It is just one of many November 5 gatherings  up and down the country, with the night sky illuminated by colourful  pyrotechnics.

While some will strike lucky with the  weather, others won’t be so fortunate as their fireworks displays are spoilt by  torrential rain. Temperatures are  expected to plummet close to freezing, making this the coldest Bonfire Night in  14 years.

March of the flaming crosses: Lewes residents lined the streets in their hundreds to watch the procession of 17 flaming crosses to represent the Protestant martyrs burnt at the stake in the town in the 16th centuryMarch of the flaming crosses: Lewes residents lined the  streets in their hundreds to watch the procession of 17 flaming crosses to  represent the Protestant martyrs burnt at the stake in the town in the 16th  century

 

Spectacular show: Participants in the parade hold flaming torches to light up the chilly night air. Forecasters said tonight will be the coldest November 5 for over a decadeSpectacular show: Participants in the parade hold  flaming torches to light up the chilly night air. Forecasters said tonight will  be the coldest November 5 for over a decade

 

Religious connection: The flame procession in Lewes has its roots in the 16th century. In previous years, 80,000 people have lined the streets to watch as many as 3,000 marchers brandishing torches Religious connection: The flame procession in Lewes has  its roots in the 16th century. In previous years, 80,000 people have lined the  streets to watch as many as 3,000 marchers brandishing torches

 

All ages: Young participants in the festivities, which also link to the infamous Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot against the Houses of Parliament in 1605All ages: Young participants in the festivities, which  also link to the infamous Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot against the Houses of  Parliament in 1605

 

Step back in time: The shops and buildings on the main streets of Lewes may have changed, but this is one annual tradition that holds strongStep back in time: The shops and buildings on the main  streets of Lewes may have changed, but this is one annual tradition that holds  strong

 

Showpiece: Crowds and marchers gathered around the Lewes war memorial to light crosses. An effigy of Guy Fawkes, who died in 1605 after an unsuccessful attempt to blow up Parliament, is also burntShowpiece: Crowds and marchers gathered around the Lewes  war memorial to light crosses. An effigy of Guy Fawkes, who died in 1606 after  an unsuccessful attempt to blow up Parliament, is also burnt

The procession, organised annually by six  local societies, traces its roots to the 16th century and marks a tumultuous  time in English history.

A key part of the parade is seventeen flaming  crosses, one for each of the Protestant martyrs burnt at the stake in the town  between 1555 and 1557 as part of the Marian Prosecutions.

The purge was initiated by the Roman Catholic  monarch Queen Mary, who reigned between 1553 and 1558, and passed strict  anti-Protestant legislation against anyone guilty of heresy against the Pope.

Smoky: This marcher seemed to be creating his own trail of thick red smoke as he made his way through the streets of LewesSmoky: This marcher seemed to be creating his own trail  of thick red smoke as he made his way through the streets of Lewes

 

Ritual: Crowds cluster round as dozens of marchers with burning torches perform a ceremonyRitual: Crowds cluster round as dozens of marchers with  burning torches perform a ceremony

 

Burn him! The effigy of Guy Fawkes is carried through the streets to be set alightBurn him! The effigy of Guy Fawkes is carried through  the streets to be set alight

 

Spooky: Halloween may have been last week but there were still plenty of scary characters in the paradeSpooky: Halloween may have been last week but there were  still plenty of scary characters in the parade

At least three hundred were martyred in just  five years – many meeting a fiery end on the stake and others hung, drawn and  quartered.

It is just a part of a number of parades and  displays of pyrotechnics in the town – which can attract as many as 80,000  despite the place only having a population of 16,000.

An effigy of Guy Fawkes, who died in 1606 a  year after an unsuccessful plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament with  Gunpowder.

The Lewes event has previously courted  controversy – in 2001, an effigy of Osama Bin Laden attracted national  attention, as did the 2003 choice of a gypsy caravan.

A fiery history: The seventeen flaming crosses in the parade represent the 17 martyrs who were burnt at the stake in Lewes as part of the Marian persecutions against Protestants in the reign of Mary IA fiery history: The seventeen flaming crosses in the  parade represent the 17 martyrs who were burnt at the stake in Lewes as part of  the Marian persecutions against Protestants in the reign of Mary I
In God we Trust! The celebration dates back to the Marian Persecutions of 1555-1557, a purge of Protestant religious reformers in the reign of catholic monarch Mary I
History lesson: The torch bearers are of all ages in the Lewes procession

History lesson: The Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations  mark, in part, the Marian Persecutions of 1555-1557, a purge of Protestant  religious reformers during the reign of Roman Catholic monarch Mary I. Heresy  against the Catholic faith was punishable by death, with some burnt at the  stake, as in Lewes, and other hung, drawn and quartered

While the flames remained alight in Lewes,  others in the country saw their Bonfire Night pyrotechnics washed out by heavy  rain.

A number of fireworks displays were cancelled  after heavy deluges of rain caused flash flooding in Dorset, Devon, Somerset and  Wiltshire the worst affected.

It follows the cancellation of a number of  large displays over the weekend, including one in Newham, East London and in the  Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

In all, the Environment Agency issued seven  flood warning in England and Wales on Monday morning, covering areas of the  South-West, South-East, East Anglia, the Midlands and Wales.There were also 53  flood alerts in operation .
In Carmarthenshire, nine adults and six  children had to be rescued from a caravan park as flood waters rose on Sunday  evening. The Mid and West Wales fire and rescue service used a boat as part  of their operation at the Pendine Caravan Park.

Red hot! This woman dressed in a pirate outfit and brandishing a burning torch is one of hundreds of participants in the annual Lewes Bonfire Night parade this evening
Flaming! Another marcher in tonight's bonfire night celebrations in Lewes, East Sussex

Flaming! Two of the marchers taking part in the annual  Bonfire Night celebrations in Lewes, the county town of East Sussex, this  evening. Dressed in vivid, blood-red costumes and brandishing burning torches,  they are participating in an event which can trace its origins to the Gunpowder  Plot of 1605 and the burning of 17 martyrs at the stake in the town in the  period 1555-1557

 

Clear message: Preparations in Lewes have been underway all weekend, with banners hung above the streets followed by the procession Clear message: Preparations in Lewes have been underway  all weekend, with banners hung above the streets followed by the procession

Read more: Spectacular-parade-torchbearers-lights-streets-Lewes-Guy-Fawkes-Night

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  1. Wow! Great post.

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