Halland and East Hoathly Bonfire Night

By Lyn Funnell

We went to the 98th East Hoathly Carnival Society’s Bonfire Carnival on Saturday, which is held in East Hoathly. It was a clear starry night and there was a big turnout.

Unlike all the other Bonfire Societies that commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes on the 5th November, just before he blew up the Houses of Parliament, Halland and East Hoathly Commemorates the end of World War 1. They hold their Bonfire Processions a week after Lewes on the 5th November. Theirs are held the day before Remembrance Sunday. The costumes of each Bonfire Society has a theme and, apart from their Cowboys and Indians theme, a lot of the Halland and East Hoathly members wear military costumes.

Newick is held the Saturday before Lewes.

Newick Bonfire Night

There are silhouettes of soldiers tied to lamposts. The tradition has developed into remembering everyone who was killed during both WWl and WW2. Their motto is LESS WE FORGET.

The first impromptu celebrations took place on the 11th November, 1918 when the Armistice was signed. A huge bonfire was lit outside the Kings Head Inn, with celebrations lasting all night. And the celebrations carried on the following week at the pub, with a fancy dress ball. At 10pm everyone walked through the village, making lots of speeches on the way. It ended with a street party, with dancing and music.

This year the Guy was Robin Hood. He was aiming his arrow in the direction where there are terrible  plans to build miles of houses on farmland, despite loads of local objections.

As the first Procession appeared, with blazing torches, to the sound of a marching band, the excitement grew.

There were 20 local Bonfire Societies in the Procession and several bands.

The Procession went right to the end of the village where they re-form and then come back again, this time letting off loud crackers and bangers.

Some Bonfire Society members shake collecting buckets during the processions. Last year they raised £1500 for charity.

East Hoathly links up with Halland, the neighbouring village, and its Members attend all the other local Bonfire Celebrations.

Barcombe is on Saturday, followed by Chiddingly and Northiam, which are on the weekend of 25th November, and they’re the final two of the year. . But  the Bonfire Societies spend the whole year planning their events.


EHH Carnival Society <ehhcs@hotmail.co.uk>




  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

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