Q. WHAT IS A BONFIRE SOCIETY?
A. A Bonfire Society celebrates the downfall of Guy Fawkes and his plot to blow up Parliament and King James 1st on November the 5th 1605.
This celebration has been held all across the country for centuries, and although it has died out a lot over the years it still remains a well-loved one here. In Sussex, there are over 35 bonfire societies in the county and more than half of them hold their own celebration during the bonfire season ( from September to the end of November).
Up until the 1960s it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire night!
Q. WHY DO YOU HAVE A BONFIRE AND FIREWORKS?
A. The fire is for burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. The bonfire came about during the plot to blow up Parliament, if Guy Fawkes had succeeded, his conspirators were to light bonfires all over the country to symbolize the death of the King.
Fireworks are used to symbolize the blowing up of Parliament as they contain gunpowder.
Q. IF I JOIN THE BONFIRE SOCIETY WHAT WILL I HAVE TO DO?
A. When you join you will be given a membership card, badge, and details of the costumes. We hope that you will be able to help at different events e.g. fundraising, torch making, placing posters, etc. You may be able to get us sacking or sticks for torch making. or you may be able to make cakes or donate raffle prizes or money to buy them.
We do need more manpower to take on the various jobs required to hold the celebrations each year, otherwise, we may be at risk of not being able to continue.
It’s good fun all through the year, so why not come along to our monthly meetings held at the Grenadier PH on the first Monday of every month at 8:00 PM. Just let the bar staff know that you have come for the bonfire meeting and they will direct you to our room.
Hope to see you there!
Q. WHY DO YOU HAVE COSTUMES?
A. The costume adds to the celebration, making it more enjoyable for the public to watch. All the societies have a different costume of their choosing, our choice being the Victorian era as well as our black and grey striped smugglers costume.
( All societies have a different colour smugglers jumper.)
The smuggler’s costume is a great costume to start off with, it is cheap to make and will last a long time. Many people go for this option as they don’t like to dress up that much.
You can choose to dress up as a Victorian from any class, from the poor house to royalty. This is a popular choice.
Q. WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM FOR THE BONFIRE CELEBRATIONS?
A. The bonfire society raises money for the celebrations from the many fundraising events held throughout the year. Raffles, Tombolas, Bingo nights, Sponsored walks, Race nights, Quiz nights, and many other events including stalls in the charter market and at boot fairs, etc. We fund the whole event by ourselves.
Q. WHY DON’T YOU HAVE YOUR BONFIRE NIGHT ON THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER?
A. As there are so many Bonfire Societies in Sussex, celebrations are spread out over what is known as the Bonfire Season. This is from the first Saturday in September to the end of November. This is done to try to ensure each Bonfire Society can visit other societies’ celebrations. We hold our celebration on the third Saturday in October.
Q. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO JOIN THE BONFIRE SOCIETY?
A. £15 for Adults ~ £7.50 Junior ~ £30 Family (1 or 2 Adults unlimited children)
Q. DOES HAILSHAM BONFIRE SOCIETY GO TO OTHER BONFIRE SOCIETIES CELEBRATIONS?
A. Yes we do! There are other societies like:
- Cliffe Bonfire Society
- Commercial Square Bonfire Society
- Lewes Borough Bonfire Society
- Nevill Juvenile Bonfire Society
- South Street Bonfire Society
- Southover Bonfire Society
- Waterloo Bonfire Society
- Barcombe Bonfire Society
- Battle (Battel Bonfire Boyes)
- Bexhill Bonfire Society
- Burgess Hill Bonfire Society
- Buxted Bonfire Society
- Chailey Bonfire Society
- Chiddingfold Bonfire (Surrey)
- Chiddingly Parish Bonfire Society
- Crowborough Bonfire & Carnival Society
- Cuckfield Bonfire Society
- East Hoathly & Halland Bonfire & Carnival Society
- Eastbourne Bonfire Society
- Edenbridge Bonfire Society (Kent)
- Ewhurst & Staplecross Bonfire Society
- Firle Bonfire Society
- Fletching Bonfire Society
- Hailsham Bonfire Society
- Hastings Borough Bonfire Society
- Hawkhurst Gang Bonfire Society
- Heathfield and District Bonfire Society
- Herstmonceux (The Merrie Harriers)
- Icklesham (Robin Hood Bonfire Society)
- Isfield and Little Horsted Bonfire Society
- Lindfield Bonfire Society
- Littlehampton Bonfire Society
- Maresfield Bonfire Society
- Mayfield Bonfire Society
- Newhaven Bonfire Society
- Newick Bonfire Society
- Ninfield Bonfire Society
- Northiam Bonfire Society
- Robertsbridge Bonfire Society
- Rotherfield & Mark Cross Bonfire Society
- Rye & District Bonfire Society
- Seaford Bonfire Society
- Shoreham-by-Sea Bonfire Society
- South Heighton Bonfire Society
- Uckfield Bonfire & Carnival Society
- Vines Cross Bonfire Society
- Whatlington Renegades
- Who The Devil Are We Society
- Worthing Bonfire Society