Word for Wednesday: Bonfire

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Here in Britain, on November 5th, we have the rather morbid tradition of celebrating Guy Fawkes Night. At schools, children recite poems such as this:

“Remember, remember the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.”

On 5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives that the Gunpowder Plot had placed underneath the House of Lords. To celebrate the failed assassination attempt on King James I, people lit bonfires around London.

Today, people still mark the occasion with bonfires and fireworks. Some people even build and burn and effigy of Guy Fawkes made from old clothes. The word bonfire comes from the Middle English ‘banefire’ (‘bane’ meaning ‘bone’) and described a fire in which bones were burned.

04 Nov 2015
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