Remember, remember 5 November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
Of course 5 November is bonfire night in the UK. But, no one can be certain where the word ‘bonfire’ comes from. Large fires have been used for signalling, marking special events and celebrating things for far longer than 400 years’.
The word Bonfire may have come from ‘bane-fire’ or ‘fire of woe’. Alternatively in medieval times people believed ‘bone-fires’ repelled dragons, which were said to hate the smell of burning human bones (a bit of a surprise considering).
However in French and German the word has a much more positive meaning, a bonfire is known as ‘feu de joi’ in French or ‘Freudenfeur’ in German – both mean a ‘joyous fire’.