Until our ancient ancestors discovered fire and created bonfires for cooking food, providing light, and safety from the animals of the night, moonscapes and starscapes represented the only light.
On the night of November 5th, 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught guarding the explosives, part of the gunpowder plot to blow up the House of Lords. The thwarted plot is still celebrated by lighting fires on November 5th. Newfoundland, a British colony until it joined Canada in 1949, celebrates Guy Fawkes Day, lighting huge bonfires, with some staying up to dawn.
Burning a witch (or people of the “wrong” religion who wouldn’t recant) started with the creation of a wood and straw base for the bonfire of death.
In the days before lighthouse shone their light into the night sky, bonfires were set both by honest folks to show the boat to the harbor, and by smugglers to wreck the ship and gain the “treasure.”
Other places, the dead are burned on a pyre out of respect and tradition.
Books have been burnt on bonfires; people’s possessions used to fan the flames. Bonfires can be symbols of dark as well as light.
I’ve been part of large bonfires by the sea, watching how each face is illuminated by the flames. I’ve sat around small bonfires, and talked philosophy, told stories, watched sparks rise up through the night sky to become stars.
Bonfires are for warmth, for celebration (not just on November 5th), respect.
Death, power, hatred, misunderstanding, punishment, demoralization.
The name bonfire comes from “the burning of bones.”
There are no bonfires in my life now.
I need a bonfire to light my way.
With no idea where.
This is a tale that touches on the themes of Tale Weaver’s 31st prompt: light. I chose to use bonfires as symbols of illumination; light; culture practices of (hands on) sacred rites; being drawn-home. As well as some of the evilness and darkness bonfires can represent. The information is personal knowledge and from Wikipedia