Lewes, England

November 5, 2001 (Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night)

Where are burning crosses, hanging effigies and mock death sentences good clean family fun? Every year this little town puts on the brightest fireworks display on November 5th, their several bonfire committees recalling the arrest and death of Guy Fawkes.

"In a way it's a sort of celebration of terrorism," my English friend explains, although I still don't comprehend the whole thing. It's best described as a combination of the American holidays of the 4th of July and Halloween celebrating religious intolerance. Still confused? So am I, but I'll confess to being a closet pyromaniac and enjoying blazes and fun just for that.

One of the great things I love about Europe is that common sense takes priority over silly lawsuits, and this rings true when you're running through crowded streets with barrels of fire or setting off fireworks. Actually, this is what made the fireworks so spectacular... you're so close! At the end, around the large bonfires, each of the bonfire groups does a vivid fireworks display over your head while Guy Fawkes burns (or in our case, explodes) at the stake.

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