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Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes must be one of the most popular villains in history, judging by the spectacular manner in which his wicked escapade is celebrated on 5th November each year.

In the last century, many of these celebrations were wild indeed, with home-made fireworks, blazing barrels of tar and huge bonfires in the streets. The windows of shops and houses had to be boarded up, and injuries were many. Fortunately, those days have gone, and regulations have been tightened up.

Lewes, Sussex, is noted for its Guy Fawkes celebrations, now a highly organized event attracting thousands of visitors. There are torchlight processions and pageantry, with official Bonfire Societies to help with the various displays. The traditional tar barrel is still a feature, but it now ends its fiery career safely in the river.

There is an extremely well-organized celebration at Winchester, Hampshire. College students, and many other organizations in the city, prepare elaborate guys, for which prizes are awarded. The guy awarded the first prize has the honour of being the first to be cast upon the huge bonfire, the other prize-winners following in order of merit. Coffee and hot-dogs are in plentiful supply, and a grand time is had by the thousands of onlookers.

The Guy Fawkes Carni val held at Bridgewater, Somerset, on the Thursday nearest to Noverhber 5th, is believed to date back unbroken except for the war years, to the original event in 1605. The carnival is noted for the many thousands of "squibs"* which are used. For many generations these were made in the homes and local shops, but for safety reasons these were banned and only factory-made ones are permitted.

* ("squibs" - fireworks thrown by hand.)

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