Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bonfire (lit. a bone-fire, for so the Northern form bane-fire is glossed in the Catholicum Anglicum, an English-Latin word-book, dated 1483), any large fire kindled on a high or open space, originally as an act of worship, and later as an act of commemoration or rejoicing, generally of a public character. The kindling of bonfires as a religious act is certainly pre-Christian, and there seems to have been some special significance in Jewish times in the burning of human bones (1 Kings xiii. 2; 2 Kings xxiii. 20; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 5; Amos ii. 1).