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Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night
Guy Fawkes effigy being burned ©TopFoto.co.uk/Keith Saunders/Arena Images

"I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot..." goes the rhyme. In an age when every other night seems to be firework night, it's as well to be reminded of the fraught political history behind the original one. In 1605, a group of conspirators planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder, in an attempt to change the religious allegiances of the monarchy.

These days, one of the most spectacular bonfire celebrations takes place in the Sussex town of Lewes, where people come from miles around to join in the festivities. Prepare to be accosted all over the country in the days beforehand by children demanding a penny for the guy.