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A bonfire is a controlled outdoor fire used for informal disposal of burnable waste material or as part of a celebration. Celebratory bonfires are typically designed to burn quickly and may be very large.

The English term bonfire is attested from the 15th century, as banefire "bone-fire", originally of fires in which the bones of slaughtered animals were burned, allegedly a Gaelic tradition of the slaughter season in autumn (Samhain).[1]


Celebratory bonfires

In many regions of continental Europe, bonfires are made traditionally on January 16[citation needed], the solemnity of John the Baptist, as well as on Saturday night before Easter.[citation needed]


In Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, bonfires are lit on Guy Fawkes Night[2] a yearly celebration held on the evening of 5 November to mark the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the House of Lords in London. In Northern Ireland, bonfires are lit on Halloween, October 31.[3]

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