Fr Ray has a timely post about Bonfire Night and the town of Lewes in East Sussex. Whilst working in Tunbridge Wells I had a housemate whose prospective father-in-law did Morris dancing at that towns 'celebrations.' I wasn't over enthusiastic.
It seems to tap into a very unpleasant side of Englishness, the sort of Cromwellian, iconoclastic, anti-authority, thuggish side. Burning an effigy of the Pope is not traditional, it was included in the 19thC. Catholic emancipation, Irish emigration, re-establishment of the hierarchy a problem anyone? Only in this country would we have to pretend it was all a quaint old tradition. I do believe that it is no longer shown on the telly. When other people burn flags etc, it is normally taken to be a bit serious after all, but not apparently in jolly old Lewes.
Other countries have fireworks for their national days, we have it for other reasons. England Catholic, what a thought. Better go and get my Roman Candles ready ....
I think actually the Pope burning was a reaction to the building of the spread of Tractarianism and the building of the "high churches " in Brighton, as much as the other things you mention.
Thank you, Father. That explains why it is so specific to Lewes.
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